Nasser reveals he shot his part in Ponniyin Selvan I in a day: ‘I feel bad, I was supposed to have more scenes’
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Nasser spoke about opting out of Lagaan, not being able to shoot much for Ponniyin Selvan I and his role in Baahubali.
Veteran actor Nasser, 65, has done around 700 films in his 34-year-long career. The actor says his best films are either with filmmaker Mani Ratnam or with actor Kamal Haasan. Popular across the country for his role of the deformed uncle in Baahubali, Nasser was recently seen as the mysterious antagonist in Ponniyin Selvan I and II. The actor has now revealed that he only shot for a day and regrets not being able to do more scenes due to date issues. Also read: Nasser doesn't say no to any role, says he is informed about roles in South films day before shoot
Nasser is now back with a web series The Jengaburu Curse, in which he plays a two-faced character. In an interview ahead of the show release on SonyLIV, Nasser shared interesting trivia about his other big projects like the Ponniyin Selvan and Baahubali films, including Lagaan which he was offered but had to opt out of. Excerpts:
You were completely unrecognisable as the mysterious Veerapandiyan in Ponniyin Selvan I and II. Your one scene was repeated several times in the two films.
I feel very bad because that is a very important character. It had to have many more scenes. I was supposed to be there for five or six days, but unfortunately it was such a big film and was getting rescheduled. So either there was a schedule cancellation or when they called, I wasn't there as I was somewhere else. Somehow it happened that I couldn't provide the dates for it. All my scenes are shot in one day.
Watch: Nasser on Baahubali, Ponniyin Selvan, nepotism, climate change
You you been a constant in Mani Ratnam's films, especially which had Aishwarya Rai among the cast members. We see this trio again and again. Is there an old promise in place?
No. Mani Ratnam sir is a very, very intense director. He may do anything for friends but for friendship sake, he will not do anything for the film. Because for him, a film is more than friendship or anything else. He will call only if that actor is required for that character in that story. I am so happy and blessed that I was repeated in his films. If I filter the best films I have done, most of them are with Mani Ratnam and Kamal Hassan.
What is the best compliment you have received for your role of the wicked and deformed Bijjaladeva in Baahubali franchise?
The received many good compliments from my colleagues and audience. But I value one great thing. It is from the writer and director itself. On a television show, they asked Rajamouli Garu, ‘you have so many actors in your film but whose performance you rate number one.’ After a few seconds, he said, ‘Nasser Garu did it very well.’ That's a great compliment I got from Rajamouli himself because he is the one who imagined that character. It's good that he himself has said it.
You were also approached for Lagaan?
Yes, I was approached for Lagaan for the role of heroine's father. I had to play cricket, I was a bit doubtful about it. But this was not the reason behind me not being part of Lagaan. I was supposed to be there for 90 days with them, which was very difficult for me because I was simultaneously doing films in Telugu and Tamil as well. I was unfortunate to provide what they asked for.
The nepotism debate refuses to die down. Your children are also in films. Do you also face such questions or are judged for the same?
No. When I came to the industry, there was nobody from my family. It is so natural that an actor's son or director's son wants to lead what their father wanted to do. You cannot stop it. That cannot happen in any field. You know a doctor wants his son to be a doctor. Even if he wants to become a lawyer, they force him to become a doctor. Nepotism is if you recommend your son for an undeserving character. If my son is not fitting that role, but it's going to be a very powerful and successful role and there is a big director and I keep pushing him to take my son, then it becomes nepotism. Look at my son only as an actor. If the director finds good quality in him as an actor, he can cast him. You cannot put everything into nepotism.