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Nasser: a one-man industry

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Actor Nasser Photo: K. Pichumani
Actor Nasser Photo: K. Pichumani

S.R. Ashok Kumar

Nasser is a one-man industry. He is a well-known artist, a good director and producer, and an able distributor. He has been part of hits such as Chandramukhi, Nayagan, Virumandi, and Anbe Sivam. He has worked with popular directors including K. Balachander, Mani Ratnam, Shanker and P. Vasu. Nasser talks about his training, career, and ambitions.

I am a normal person and have both positive and negative sides to my character. I am outgoing. This habit has helped me understand the ways of life better.

For me acting is not a hobby, it is a profession. It gives me my bread and butter and I have utmost respect for my work. But, at the same time I live life for the moment and enjoy it.

When people ask me to name my favourite star I name hockey star Dhanraj Pillai, to everyone's surprise. Be it Kollywood, Bollywood or Hollywood, we are all artists in the same field.

I wanted to pursue a career in acting and underwent training to become an actor. Luck did not play a part in it. I was not spotted on the road or in a cafe and brought to stand before the camera. I feel one must learn acting, and for that training is a must. To enter the field, they must do their homework.

My first film was Kalyana Agathigal. I have acted in 250 films in various languages, and continue to act. My favourites include Kuruthippunal, Avatharam, Avaram Poo, Bombay, and Ghazhal (in Malayalam).

On many occasions people have asked me whether I like to be an actor or a director. Each responsibility has its charm. I am trained to act and perform to the satisfaction of my director. As an actor I am comfortable, as I know the intricacies of acting. The director's job is challenging and production has its own problems.

I have directed four films Avatharam, Devathai, Mayan and Popcarn and produced all of them except Avatharam. Right now I don't have plans to direct or produce a movie. If I get a good story I may produce the movie or get down todirecting if a good script comes my way. I am identified as an actor and am happy to retain it that way.

I don't consider being part of a large number of movies an achievement. As a professional I play the part given to me, differently. I try to give new dimensions to my acting. Thousands of films have come out and various people have played different characters in them. What I do now must be unlike the old ones. I try my best to be new and different in my own way.

As I entered the film industry through a film institute I believe in training. In the cinema industry training is a must. I conducted a workshop in acting two years ago in Singapore. Now, I have been asked to conduct one in Malayasia for Malay actors. But, here in Chennai nobody seems to bother about this aspect. The viewing public and the film industry here will benefit from the performances given by trained actors.

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