Filmmaking was a natural progresion for me: Nalin Singh
Bollywood actor and director Nalin Singh has come up with, My Virgin Diary, an Indo-US cross over Hindi movie. The movie depicts journey of a musical band from its inception. It has all the ingredients of a Bollywood masala film like love, sex and money. Already trending on Airtel Movies, Jio Cinema, Chillx, Bigflix, Nettywood and Hungama Play, it is likely to go live on Sony Liv soon.
Singh’s earlier ventures include Hindi film Gandhi To Hitler wherein he was the script writer and co-producer, short film A Night Before The Surgical Strike that he directed. Besides, he has also acted in a Hollywood movie Unforeseen.
Nalin Singh in conversation with Ruchika Chaubey:
What is My virgin diary all about?
It’s about my virgin days. I studied at Hindu college and in our college, as everyone knows we had this tree called the virgin tree. Virgin tree was, it still is, a very popular hangout spot for all the college students; students from other colleges also used to hang out here. Since the story was from that time, I decided to name it My virgin diary.
This film is very special to me because it was liking re-living my college days. The film shows my days in college, in the hostel. Most of the scenes that we have shown are actual; it felt really nice portraying on paper with Arunesh and then shooting it. I enjoyed the whole process.
When did you decide to enter filmmaking?
It happened gradually. I am an actor primarily, and have been doing plays since college days. At that time we used to write our own scripts for the street plays (nukkad-naatak) we did. And therein we had to do everything, write script, act, direct and compose. Initially I was very confused about which craft should I pick, but with time I realized it is filmmaking that I want to do.
How did you find the members of your team and how do you bind them to work?
I made this film with my students; it made things very comfortable. Relationships are sometimes very difficult to maintain especially when you are dealing with a person who is an actor and not much established. When you are dealing with your actors you have to make them feel important, comfortable and you have to be a very good communicator, if you cannot communicate nicely then they won’t be knowing as to what you want out of them. An actor is like “clay”, it’s the director’s job to mould him/her into a character.
What was the most important lesson you learnt that had a positive impact on your film?
Management. I thanks God that I have studied management. A filmmaker has to handle a huge team of actors, technicians and other staff. Each person is a different personality and it is important to deal according to one’s individual tastes. If you really want to make a film, it is important to cater t each one’s ego as egos flare up easily. Some people have more than the required amount of “self respect” which can create issues.
There was this actress who would transform into a different personality on the sets. As soon as the makeup man would finish his job this actress would start behaving like a superstar. This happens, often. It is normal. You have to manage each actor with tact.
Did you lose your cool any time on the sets?
Usually, I’m a very cool person but there was a time when I just lost it. What happened was my technicians were doing certain experiments on the sets which I instinctively felt would be wasteful and conveyed as much to them. But they didn’t listen to me as a result we couldn’t complete the shoot in time.
It is a full-length movie. So, why did you release it in four parts in Asia?
In Asia it has been released in four parts as audience behaviour pattern tells us that content is watched for not more than 20 minutes at a time. In USA, Canada, UK, Africa, Mauritius and Europe it has been released in full.
Which films inspired you the most, and why?
Jab We Met by Imtiaz Ali. The characterisation of Kareena Kapoor was amazing, fantastic. It takes an extra effort and skill to carve out a character like Geet. A director has to be very good at observing people around him/her so as to pick up the nuances which he can give to his characters, and which make them stand out. I think Imtiaz Ali did the job exceptionally well.