Neil Nitin Mukesh on Bypass Road and Why He Feels at Ease with Thrillers
A thriller-fan, Neil Nitin Mukesh says he waited for 12 years (since his first film Johnny Gaddar) to make something like this.
A still from Bypass Road.
With Bypass Road, Neil Nitin Mukesh is juggling the hats of an actor, screenplay writer and producer. He confesses it was stressful.
“It was a great learning experience, but it was very difficult. It made me evolve as an actor and more as a human being. And production was always a calling because I have been an associate director.”
It was 4 years ago, during the shooting of Prem Ratan Dhan Pao, Neil felt a change in the Indian cinema’s content and started writing this story. A thriller-fan, the actor says he waited for 12 years (since his first film Johnny Gaddar) to make something like this.
“The new-age content being the king gave me confidence. For me, the concept was to introduce this new content to the Indian cinema as far as thrillers are concerned.”
Neil feels Indian cinema hasn’t explored many aspects in terms of thrillers and this movie is his attempt to explore one side of it, the home evasion. “We are still conservative in our deliverables to the audience. But to reach there, we needed to have a plot, a backbone. Since I have done 30 odd films, practically all of which are thrillers, I feel like I rule the genre and that’s where I got the idea,” he says.
However, playing a wheelchair bound character wasn’t easy. It took a lot of mental and physical effort for the actor to disconnect from his lower body.
He says, “Apart from being loud and strong, I had to convey all my emotions- angst, passion, frustration, all in a limited and restricted moment.”
He adds, “As an actor, or as a normal human being too, we tend to move and use our hands a lot. Since it’s a non-linear film, you can see the scenes prior to my accident where I have purposely used my body language to show the massive contrast.”
Apart from the performance, the action was an added task as it had to be done entirely on his hands. ”I had to crawl for kilometers. My shoulders and back would hurt. The action is also very extensive as I am pushed, pulled and beaten. I have got hurt on my head multiple times. It was physical and mental chaos, going home every night thinking the same needs to be done tomorrow.”
The actor shared trying method acting with the help of a trainer in order to get used to a wheelchair. “I used to tie a stick on my leg in a way that my toes couldn’t even move. That process really helped.”
Last seen in Saaho, Neil had to gain weight for the role. “Some specially-abled people are far fitter than I am. But, Naman (Neil’s brother and the movie’s director) just felt that my character doesn’t require it as people might not be able to relate to my character.”
Ask him if it was tough gaining some weight and he jumps to reply, “Are you kidding me? I had a blast. Gaining weight is the easiest thing. I have chocolates, burgers pastries in my home. And now I am an addict! I am trying it get it all out. I have lost around 5 and now I have some 7 more to go.”
Neil had earlier announced a sequel of the movie was already on the cards. Is the movie going to leave the audience on a cliff-hanger, we asked?
“No, it will not leave your questions unanswered,” Neil says.
He continues, “It has a scope of getting into a franchise because of the title and the genre. The title does not have a geographical destination. There can be another story on another Bypass Road.”
Ask him if he has more story ideas and he says, “Yes, there are so many. I have already penned 12 of them. I surely dominate thrillers, but also love love stories, specifically reincarnation. Let’s see what response this one gets.”
Bypass Road is scheduled to hit the screens on November 8.
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