AR Murugadoss' next film Kaththi marks the Tamil debut of Neil Nitin Mukesh, who seems to have given up aspirations of playing a leading man. He will play a negative role in the film.
So is the actor learning the Tamil language?
"Neil has to speak only a smattering of Tamil," Murugadoss explains. "He plays a North Indian character. So although the film is in Tamil, Neil will be heard speaking a lot of Hindi.”
The director known to cast brutal and sadistic villains (Pradeep Rawat played the title role in Ghajini and Farhad Daruwalaas was the steel-eyed terror mastermind in Holiday) says he chose Neil for his good looks.
“Gone is the time when villains had to look a certain way. You don’t have to sport scars and frowns to be a villain. You can be a good looking, normal guy and yet a villain,” he says.
Neil will also apparently play a character with grey shades in Sooraj Barajtya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, where he is cast as Salman Khan’s younger brother.
Is this the beginning of a new career as a villain for Neil Nitin Mukesh?
Says a friend of the actor: “Neil is trying to find his bearings. He played a villain in Abbas-Mustan’s Players, so this isn’t a new territory for him.”
Photograph: Abhijit Mhamunkar