'I don't want to known as Sanjay Dutt's nephew all my life'
Sanjay Dutt's nephew Nilesh Sahay is the newest kid on the block, making his acting debut with this week's release, Angel.
Directed by choreographer-turned-director Ganesh Acharya, the film also introduces Maddalsa Sharma, daughter of actress Sheela Sharma.
Nilesh is confident about his film, but as the release date nears, his nervousness shows.
He talks to Sonil Dedhia about Angel, why he did not want to be launched by his famous uncle (Nilesh is the son of yesteryear actress Zaheeda, a niece of Sanjay Dutt's mother Nargis), and much more.
You're an actor now. Has that sunk into you yet?
That's a really good question. It's something that I wanted my entire life. I had always dreamed of acting on the big screen, and this dream will turn into reality this week. It's a beautiful feeling.
So you always want to become an actor?Yes. I am very passionate about films. I watch every kind of film. I did a lot of plays during my school and college days. Sometimes I would also write them. I was approached by a lot of people but I wanted to be convinced of the script and the person making the film.
Image: Nilesh Sahay
'You can't judge people from what they have done in the past'
What made you say yes to Angel?
Honestly, it was the passion that I saw in Ganesh Acharya. When we sat together for the first time and I heard the script, I realised that we are on the same page. I was convinced, so I decided to go ahead and do the film.
Weren't you apprehensive since Ganesh Acharya's earlier films (Swami and Money Hai Toh Honey Hai) haven't done well?
He's one of the best choreographers in our industry today. He has made films which were not commercially successful but that doesn't mean he will do a bad job. You can't judge people from what they have done in the past. I am working with him on a different film, so it's a different ball game.
The film posters claim that it is not a love story, but it's a story about love. What does that mean?
People have a preconceived notion about love that it happens between a boy and a girl. Now, we see a lot of relationships between two girls or two boys (laughs).
But on a serious note, we are saying that the story is about love and love can happen in friendship. You can love your family.
Image: A scene from Angel
'Its fate will help me make decisions about my future projects'
Tell us about the movie.
It's a simple and sweet story about a boy and a girl. It's their love story. The girl is suffering from cerebral palsy.
My character is a simple, immature and silly guy, who is a little brash. He does not want to make anyone unhappy or make anyone feel bad. He lives with his mother, brother and sister-in-law. My character gets into a lot of unnecessary trouble. For some reason, he has to part ways with his family for two years, and that's when the whole thing changes.
I don't want to reveal more.
What are your expectations from the film?
A lot. It's my debut movie and its fate will help me make decisions about my future projects. Angel has helped me evolve as an actor. But I am still new. I hope it will help me understand what films I should go for.
But I am not concerned about the box office verdict with this film. Whether it is successful or not, Angel will always have a special place in my heart.
Image: Movie poster of Angel
'I didn't want to take any favours from anyone'
Why didn't you make your debut under Sanjay Dutt's banner?
It is very shameful for me to go and ask my uncle to launch me in a film. I don't want to known as Sanjay Dutt's nephew all my life. As I mentioned earlier, I had got a lot of offers in the past. But I needed to be worthy enough to prove myself as an actor.
Once I knew I was ready, I signed Angel.
But wouldn't it have been better to make your debut in a Sanjay Dutt production?
I believe that if someone doesn't struggle, he doesn't know the flavour of success. I want to do something on my own without taking any favours from anyone.
In today's time, we don't have superstars like Rajesh Khanna, Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan because today, no one is ready to struggle. Everyone has a shortcut to success. Actors today are launched by their parents or big banners. I didn't want to be a part of that.
Image: Nilesh Sahay
'Sanjay Dutt is like an Angel'
How much of an inspiration has Sanjay Dutt been to you?
For me, he is like an Angel (smiles). I have grown up watching his movies. There is no doubt that there is a lot of inspiration from him. He has been there for me every time I needed him. He has always told me to achieve something by fighting the odds.
He told me to be what you are, and not to change for anyone. A lot of people will try to put you down and will not support you but that should not demotivate you. Instead, you should take them as inspiration and fight the odds, and make yourself count. That's what he said. For me, he is truly a superstar.
Which of his movies have you liked?
Vaastav, the Munnabhai series and Naam.
If you had to act in one of these remakes, which one would it be?
Undoubtedly, Vaastav. I'll tell you why. I had gone to Maratha Mandir (a theatre in south Mumbai) to watch the film. I saw some local gangsters sitting in the theatre, and watching the film. By the end of the film, they had tears in their eyes because they could relate to it.
Many people took the movie as a gangster film but it was about a common man's struggle and how circumstances made him a gangster. I can watch that movie any time.
Image: Nilesh Sahay