Nishan Nanaiah’s got a plum role in Priyadarsan’s Geethanjali

Nishan Nanaiah cuts a dashing figure in a full-sleeve white shirt and tailored black pants as he waits for his next shot for Priyadarsan’s new psychological thriller Geethanjali, the shooting of which is progressing at Chitranjali studio on the outskirts of the city. But, beneath all that suaveness, do we detect a frisson of excitement?

(Laughs) “Yes! Acting in a Priyadarsan film, really is a dream come true, something that I have been wishing for since my college days at Film and Television Institute of India, Pune,” says the young actor. It’s a real example of how perseverance pays, he explains. “Did you know I’ve been calling Priyan sir for a role in one of his films every couple of weeks since 2008, even before I debuted in Mollywood with Shyamaprasad’s Ritu? Then, in 2010, while the director was shooting Bhool Bhulaiya at Mehboob Studios in Mumbai, he asked me to come over and meet him. By then I had Ritu and Apooorvaragangal to show him. After all this while, imagine my excitement when one fine day, sitting at home in Coorg, lethargic after the festivities of my sister, Sruthi’s wedding, I get a call from Priyan sir asking me if I would like a role in his next film! I didn’t even wait to ask him about the role in Geethanjali, I just jumped on board! Luckily, I had not committed to any other film,” he adds.

As it turns out, Nishan is playing quite an important role in Geethanjali – as Anoop, fiancée to the character enacted by debutant Keerthy, daughter of actor Menaka and producer Suresh Kumar. Both Nishan and Keerthy, apparently, have a lot of screen time too. “Having grown up in Kolkata, I can speak Hindi more fluently than I can speak Malayalam. And because of that I really thought that if ever Priyadarsan sir cast me, it would be in one of his Hindi films. Now, I’m doubly excited because it’s for a Malayalam film and that too the comeback of Dr. Sunny (Mohanlal) of Manichitrathazhu,” he says, acing his Malayalam pronunciation. “Hey, it’s almost been five years in Mollywood and almost twice that number of films. I’m quite comfortable with Malayalam,” he adds, flashing that charming grin of his, which never ceases to floor his legions of female admirers (He seems oblivious to the admiring looks from the many female supporting actors on the set!). “I am awestruck by Priyan sir’s attention to detail. For example, the other day, he made us do a re-take of a shot because he was not happy with the angle of something in the background!”

In Malayalam cinema, Nishan seems to have found his footing and already has a couple of hits in his kitty, none more so than his stellar act as a migrant salesperson/crook in Ee Adutha Kalathu. But it was Bollywood that gave him a pan-India break, when he appeared on screen with superstar Vikram in Bejoy Nambiar’s David.

“I’ve learnt a lot working with Vikram sir and now Mohanlal sir. Both of them are so dedicated to their craft, are both amazingly humble and approachable. And that’s what makes them superstars. Mohanlal sir even wished me best of luck before a shot. If that’s not a confidence booster, what is?” asks Nishan. Up next at the marquee for the youngster, who “only commits to one film at a time” is Badlapur Boys, the Hindi remake of Tamil super hit Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu. “I’ve always been good with languages and am fluent in five or six now. So I’m open to working in all languages. I just want good roles.”