Remo Fernandes tells Anurag Tagat he has put his self consciousness behind him and enjoyed his role as a Portuguese lover of the arts in Anurag Kashyap’s latest film, Bombay Velvet
It’s difficult to picture Remo Fernandes without a musical instrument in his hand but that’s how Anurag Kashyap’s 2014 film, Bombay Velvet will portray him. Playing a Portuguese man from the 1950s with a love for the arts, Remo says there was very little preparation for the role. “I grew up with people who were great lovers of the arts — family and my parents’ friends. I knew people who dressed that way, who talked that way, so it came to me naturally.” Excerpts from an interview:
You said that you were slightly self-conscious about acting. Were you apprehensive when you started out as a musician?
I had no apprehensions. The feeling of being a musician was always there in my mind — ever since I was a kid. I went up on stage when I was five or six and my dad encouraged me right from the beginning.
It was almost like a natural thing to go on stage and perform. But acting! When I was in the first standard, I was part of a school play. My dad took me for my first rehearsal and in one of the scenes I had to run after a little girl. At that age, last thing you want to do is run after girls! I think that put me off and I stayed away from acting.
How did you land the role in Bombay Velvet?
It just came out of the blue. I got a call from the casting director of Bombay Velvet asking me whether I’d do the role. I said, ‘I’m sorry but I’m not an actor. I’ll suggest some names, if you need someone who speaks Portuguese.’
But they insisted and I thought, ‘why not?’ They seem to have the confidence that I could handle the role. After all, over the years, I have been making music videos, which, to some extent, is also a bit of acting. One, two, three and you sing that verse. So why not give it a try? I found out that I loved it (laughs).
Anurag Kashyap has said you must act more. What kind of roles are you looking at?
It’s a bit premature to say I’m looking at roles. This is the first one and I enjoyed doing it. After the film comes out, if people enjoy it and I get noticed and if I do get other offers I would love to take them up. But I think, at my age, I would get more serious roles; certainly not the hero who rescues people and flies a helicopter and stuff like that. Now the roles I get could be much more interesting. When I say interesting, I mean, this one (in Bombay Velvet) has a few layers to it and such characters excite me. Also, in Bombay Velvet my lines are in Portuguese. I’m absolutely at ease with the language. I could say whatever I had to in my own words.
Are you composing any music for Bombay Velvet?
What kind of reception do you think the movie will get?
I certainly hope it will get a great reception. Having watched Anurag’s films, quite a few of them, I know that I love his films.
What other projects are you working on?
I did a song for Kaizad Gustad’s new film, called Jackpot, and that has not yet released. It’s different compared to all the songs I’ve been doing lately. I was asked to do very Goa-oriented songs in David and other films. But here, it’s a hip hop-oriented track.
And what about your solo music?
I’ve finished re-recording my first pop album. Some of these were recorded about 30 years ago. In that album, I sang about how Goa was changing — high-rise buildings on the beach and rice fields making way for apartments.Also, my knowledge of recording wasn’t all that good at that time. It’s a very Goa-centric album and I want to do it in better quality.