Roger Narayan plays an outsider in Humble Politician Nograj
The Bengaluru-born actor, who started his career in Hollywood, plays counterpoint to Nograj, played Danish Sait, in the film directed by Saad Khan
Roger Narayan is an actor who is seeing the best of two worlds -- Hollywood and Indian cinema. Though his roots are in India, he started work in cinema in Hollywood. Roger's first film in Kannada was U-Turn, and he has also worked in Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam and Sanskrit. The actor's upcoming Kannada film Humble Politician Nograj, directed by Saad Khan and starring Danish Sait, is slated for release by the end of this year.
Roger, who is busy on the sets of a Hollywood project, took time to chat with CE and we opened the conversation asking him how different filmmaking is in the two countries. "The two are not very different, even technically. But the execution of a project is different in Europe, Hollywood and India," he says. "Even inside the same industry, processes are different depending on the film's genre and stories. Here, everything happens spontaneously and it is magical in a way, it is amazing how everything comes together and I see a beautiful order in the chaos."
Born in Bengaluru, Roger says that he was inspired by all the great actors of 70s and 80s such as Dr Rajkumar, Vishnuvardhan, and Shankarnag, and even a few "excellent" teleserials, which drove him to work in the Kannada industry. "Though I started in Hollywood, I did notice that Indian cinema was trying new and interesting subjects, plots and characters. So I was intrigued and began exploring my chances here," he says.
The actor who is four films old in Kannada has three more projects lined up for 2018. How did he come to be a part of Humble Politician Nograj? "The filmmakers approached me, wanting an actor who could be a powerful counter point to the lead. I play Arun Patil, a politician opposing Nograj. He is actually an NRI who returns to India to start a company and to promote employment," he says. "The irony of it is that Arun Patil is the humble politician. In a way, he is the anti-lead, running in parallel to Nograj's character, who becomes the voice of reason and conscience. He stands for all that is right and you see a tussle between Nograj and Arun Patil," he says.
Roger did basic research to understand the political system. "Our civics lessons in high-school gave me an understanding of the system. I know people working in the government and civil services, and had a brief discussion with them to get a sense of the current services and to help me work with the character better." He says he felt it better to not know too much also, since his character is straight forward and sincere. "I wanted to attempt it like a common person and wanted it to take me by surprise," says Roger and adds, "Arun Patil has various shades to his character."
The actor has been following civic issues every day during his stay in India. "Our film is a poltiical sattire, in which we have touched upon civic issues with humour. The film and its characters will be a topic of discussion, and I hope it can bring about a change in society. This is what the filmmaker Saad Khan and actor-writer Danish Sait want, too,” he says.
Humble Politician Nograj is a joint venture production of Pushkar Mallikarjunaiah, director Hemanth M Rao and Rakshit Shetty. The film features Sumukhi Suresh and Sruthi Hariharan as part of its cast.