Actor Nishan Nanaiah says he is at home in Mollywood and is game for challenging roles

“I never thought that I’d last so long in the Malayalam film industry,” says Nishan Nanaiah with a chuckle. “Though a non-Malayali (he belongs to Coorg in Karnataka), I am surprised and happy that people here appreciate my work,” says the actor who made his debut as the endearing Sarat in Syamaprasad’s Ritu (2009). He followed it up with an impressive performance in Sibi Malayil’s Apoorvaragam and topped it with a brilliant act playing the charming seducer Rustam in Ee Adutha Kalathu (EAK). Last seen in the bi-lingual movie David and 10.30 a.m. Local Call in Malayalam, his latest release is Umer Mohammed’s Radio.

Radio is about Swetha (Iniya) and Priya (Sarayu). The movie stresses on how a woman has to find her inner strength and rise to the occasion. “It is a women-centric story. These girls come from different strata of the society and I happen to be a part of their lives,” says Nishan.

An alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Nishan believes Malayalam films are closer to real life, with enough scope for subtle acting. Also, he isn’t much worried that many of his movies didn’t do well in the box office. “At FTII we are taught to be true to the character you play and I feel it is in Malayalam cinema that I could stick to that. I do just one movie at a time, sometimes my choices go wrong. After all what you read in the script needn’t come out the same way on screen. I’ve no regrets about any movies I did in any language. It has been a great journey, during which I could share screen space with good artistes. Like Vikram in David,” says the actor over the phone from Jaipur where he is currently shooting for a movie.

All said and done, he is still waiting for a challenging role like that of Rustam. “When Arun (Arun Kumar Aravind, director of EAK) came up with the role, I had no second thoughts about accepting it because I was waiting to break free from the lover boy image I had till then,” he says.

He still gushes about the reception he got for the role. “A lot of housewives became my fans!” Nishan says, breaking into a hearty laugh.

“I think many women could relate with the housewife (played by Tanushree Ghosh). They are perhaps unhappy in their lives and crave for attention and care. It was after doing Rustam that I realised so many women go through this rejection in their lives,” he says. He also dubbed for the movie “since that was the accent expected of Rustam. My Malayalam hasn’t improved beyond that, though!”

As he looks forward to work with big names in Mollywood, Nishan is taking each role as it comes. “Acting is what I’ve always loved to do. I was crazy about movies from childhood to such an extent that I could remember the release date of important movies by relating it to something in my personal life. It was a shock for my parents when I decided to become an actor, because I was good in studies and sports (he was a state-level tennis player). They are worried about the unpredictability of the profession. But I tell them that I’m doing something I enjoy. I might earn less, but I find this profession liberating!” Nishan signs off.