Neil Nitin Mukesh is injured from head to toe. And it’s not faked for the camera. He has raw wounds and bruises all over. Neil can barely talk.
Doing traumatic parts has become a part of Neil Nitin Mukesh’s acting karma. Just when he thought he had gotten over the ordeal of being strip-searched and jailed in Madhur Bhandarkar’s Jail, Neil is now in the thick of the worst possible physical and emotional trauma.
For his role in Lafange Parinde, which he is currently shooting for from 11 in the morning till past-midnight at Yashraj Studios, Neil is required to get out on the streets and fight man to man with his adversaries, a la Vinod Khanna in Gulzar’s Apne and Nagarjuna in Ram Gopal Varma’s Shiva. “Except for one detail,” Neil corrects, as he winces in real pain. “There’s nothing fake about the fists of fury that fly in Pradeep Sarkar’s film. It requires the rawest of physical violence and it can’t be faked. So if you see me now I’m covered with welters, wounds and bruises, all gifted to me every day while shooting this, the most dangerous film of my career.”
Luckily, Neil has moved out of his South Mumbai home to Powai for the duration of the shooting of Lafange Parinde. “Otherwise if my mother saw what I look like she would have freaked out. I’m getting physically hurt every day. I’m covered in bruises. Because I am light-skinned, the hurt marks show up bright red on me within seconds. I look…alarming!! Even to myself in the mirror!”
Neil has temporarily packed off his makeup man. “I don’t need Aseembhai to paint on fake blood. My stunt director Shyam Kaushalji is doing a very good job of making my bruises and lacerations look real…because they are real.”
This isn’t Neil’s first tryst with danger. “Shyam Kaushalji is someone I really respect. I touch his feet every morning although he really puts me through the most dangerous situations. In New York he made me run across a street with speeding cars. In Aa Dekhe Zaraa he had thrown me off the 18th floor. But nothing had prepared me for what Shyamji has in store for me in Lafange Parinde.”
Though Neil is unwilling to reveal the plot, Lafange Parinde is about rivalry among bike gangs of Mumbai. It requires Neil to engage in serious and authentic fights on the streets.
Says Neil, “Fortunately I’m not a stranger to these kind of raw gutter-level combats. I may come across as softspoken now. But I’ve gone through my share of campus fights during my college days. In fact, I have a fierce temper problem. So far I had kept it in check. But now in Lafange Parinde I’m disturbed to see the violent, ill-tempered side of me emerging effortlessly.”
Then Neil adds, “What surprises me is the deep dark angry side to Dada (director Pradeep Sarkar)’s personality. Who would have thought the man who made Parineeta and Laga Chunri Mein Daag had so much anger and violence in him?”
– Subhash K Jha / Sampurn Wire