Shane Nigam’s strength is his ability to keep it real. Within a short time, the 26-year-old actor has proven himself as a gifted actor, regardless of the genre of the film or when pitted against thespians and Young Turks of the Malayalam film industry.
His next appearance in theatres is as Indugopan in TK Rajeev Kumar’s Bermuda. Calling it a complete entertainer, Shane says that it is not realistic but is an “artistic, abstract film” that reflects today’s world.
“Indugopan and the characters in Bermuda symbolise the heart of today’s generation, their traumas, fears and hopes. He is someone who is trapped in a certain emotional state,” says Shane speaking on phone from Palakkad, where he is shooting for debutant Syam Sasi’s Vela along with Sunny Wayne and Sidharth Bharathan.
He says one has to watch Bermuda to understand why Indugopan is in a certain state of mind. “Bermuda delineates the way society sees him; it is about how society approaches his frame of mind. The reasons for my character’s behaviour are to be found in his past,” he explains.
The story hinges around a strange complaint filed by Indugopan at a police station where Joshua (Vinay Forrt), a footballer-turned-policeman works. “The complaint takes the story forward. Bermuda is a commentary on today’s world but it is never preachy or didactic,” says Shane.
The cast of Bermuda includes Saiju Kurup, Maniyan Pillai Raju, Sudheer Karamana, Nandu, Indrans, Niranjana Anoop and Gauri Nanda among others.
There is a misconception that Shane is the enfant terrible of the Malayalam film industry. Much has been written about and discussed about his run-ins with a producer and a director. Yet, no one would deny that he is an actor who delivers in every role of his, regardless of the genre of the film.
After a turbulent period, Shane is back on course. He says it was his unfamiliarity with the nature of the film industry and his age that put him in a spot, referring to the time when the Kerala Film Producers Association wanted to ban the up-and-coming actor for walking out of a film alleging “harassment” and changing his look when its shooting was going on.
Shane feels that his being a rank newcomer in the industry put him at a disadvantage. “There are certain rules and regulations in every field. If a newcomer questions these regulations, it becomes an issue. I believe that these experiences will help me evolve as an actor and professional.”
Shane made his debut as a child actor and played the lead as Irfan in Kismath (2016). Both the film and Shane’s acting were widely appreciated. Shane went on work with some of the best actors in the Malayalam film industry.
Agreeing that he has been lucky to work with leading directors and newbies along with thespians and current stars, Shane says working with them has been a memorable experience.
“Acting with senior actors such as Revathy Ma’m (Boothakaalam), Manju chechi and Amala Akkineni (C/O Saira Banu) was an experience in itself. They are focussed, disciplined and serious about their work. Their approach to a character is different from the way an actor today would see it. It helps to learn when you work with them,” he feels.
He believes that senior actors and the present lot belong to different schools of acting. “You can’t say one is wrong and the other is right. Each has its pros and cons.”
Shane, who has worked with noteworthy debutant directors such as Madhu C Narayanan (Kumbalangi Nights), B Ajith Kumar (Eeda), Soubin Sahir (Parava) and veterans Shaji N Karun (Olu) and Rajeev Ravi (Kammattipadam), feels that the set of a film becomes an extension of the personality of the director too. “Rajeev sir (TK Rajeev Kumar) is a friendly and informal person who has a good equation with his actors. Acting in Bermuda was almost like hanging out with friends. Rajeev sir’s set was vastly different from Shaji sir’s set. Each director’s take is different.”
Elaborating, he says that the sets of Kumbalangi Nights, Ishq and Ullasam had a relatively young cast and crew, and so it had an informal ambience. “One has to shift one’s mindset for each film. In a Rajeev Ravi film, I can take my time to deliver dialogue and he won’t have a problem. But I can’t take that liberty in a film like Ullasam.”
Does he rehearse for his characters? “I don’t do that. But after every film, I take a break to get out of the role. Prior to joining a film, I take a little time to get into the character I will be playing,” he says.
Citing the example of Vela, where he plays a young civil police officer whose first job is to work in the control room, Shane says he had to mentally prepare himself to enact the role effectively. “It is organic. I listened to the way they talk in the control room and practised that a bit. They talk in a particular way because each word has to be clear, they are passing on important messages.”
He will soon be working in a film produced by Sophia Paul and with director Priyadarsan.
Moving on to his pet project, Shane says during the lockdown, he directed a 26-minute short film Evideyo (Somewhere), which he scripted, edited, produced and filmed. “It is a story set during the lockdown and the actors are all my friends. The film has one song and I hope to release it in two months. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do a film and that is why I produced it on a shoe-string budget. I am not sure how it will turn out but I am happy that I was able to do it.”