'Both Nikki and Nikhil were challenging roles to perform in Lucia'
Sathish Neenasam is on cloud nine after the release of his film Lucia. His dual performances as Nikki, the village simpleton who moves into the city to work as an usher in a cinema hall, and as Nikhil, the film star, have been receiving rave reviews and appreciation from the likes of Irrfan Khan and Anurag Kashyap.
After doing theatre and television and a handful of films with Yograj Bhat, Sathish went on to do a lead role in Lucia.
He talks to rediff about the response Lucia has been getting.
Lucia is doing very well and your performance has been appreciated by critics and audiences alike. You must be a happy man.
It is exhilarating, to be honest. Pawan (Kumar, director of the film) and the team have worked very hard to see this day.
I feel that I have been rewarded for a struggle of 10 long years. None of the films I had worked in previously received accolades and appreciation of this magnitude.
Audiences apart, people on social media, eminent personalities from other film industries, be it Chennai, Mumbai or Hyderabad have been calling and tweeting me.
Anurag Kashyap said “You were superb.’’ That made my day!
Image: A scene from Lucia
'I personally think I did justice to both the roles'
Some critics have said that the film is too cerebral for the masses, but interestingly, it has been lapped up by the so-called masses too.
A lot of self-proclaimed geniuses claim that the masses cannot understand certain kinds of films. Who are these people to undermine the audience’s intelligence?
People who do not understand will discuss it with others who watched the film and make efforts to understand or watch it the second time and try to identify what they missed out on their first viewing.
Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of people who decide to make fools out of the audience.
Most people think your role as Nikki, the village simpleton, outshone your role as Nikhil, the film star. Which one is your personal favourite and which one was more challenging to perform?
I personally think I did justice to both the roles. Both were equally challenging to perform. The body language and everything are so different from each other. The histrionics of one should not be seen in the other.
Personally, I like the star’s role better. There is something very interesting about him. Every common man wants to outshine and stand out from the crowd, and here is a man who wants to get lost in the crowd. He is more grounded.
Image: a scene from Lucia
'I will look out for meaty roles in whichever language'
In Tamil Nadu, Vijay Sethupathi has become a poster boy for independent and experimental films. Do you think you will go his way? With Lucia having set a standard, is there pressure to do better in your forthcoming films?
No pressure as such. I will continue to do good work and look out for meaty roles in whichever language.
I can assure you that in my forthcoming films also you will see good performances and the films will also be a treat to watch. I am working hard.
What is plaguing the Kannada film industry in your opinion? This was an industry that produced original films in the past. After Shankar Nag’s era, there seems to be a vacuum.
We do see good films now and then. I think more and more educated people should enter the Kannada film industry; people from literature, with theatre experience, people who understand the craft of filmmaking and the nuances of direction.
There are so many talented people here. I am sure they will all get an opportunity in the coming times.
Image: A scene from Lucia