Interview Remo Fernandes on his latest film, ‘Bombay Velvet’
It’s difficult to picture Remo Fernandes without a musical instrument in his hand but that’s what Anurag Kashyap’s 2014 film, Bombay Velvet , has in store for Fernandes. Playing a Portuguese man from the 1950s with a love for the arts, Remo says there was very little preparation for the role. Excerpts from an interview:
You said before that you were always slightly self-conscious to act. Were there similar apprehensions 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 small kid. I went up on stage when I was five or six and my dad encouraged me in music like crazy, right from the beginning.
It was almost like a natural thing to go on stage and perform for people. But acting! When I was in the first standard, it was a school play. How did you land the role in Bombay Velvet ?
It just came out of the blue. I just happen to be in Mumbai and 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 Goan 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 from now on. 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. And after the film comes out, if people enjoy it – it’s a very small role – and if at all it gets 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 crashes and stuff like that. That is something I never looked for even when I was at the right age.
It was all that anxiety from the first standard school play coming back?
Yes, you’re right. It was a great anxiety. I had to deliver lines to Naseeruddin Shah and I was so anxious about it. But in Bombay Velvet my lines are in Portuguese. I’m absolutely at ease with my own language. I could say whatever I had to in my own words. I didn’t have to learn anything.
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 a hip hop-oriented track.
I was in first standard, it was a school play. in the scene I had to run after a little girl. At that age, the last thing you want to do is run after girls! I think that put me off acting