Uppi’s advice to Niranjan: No script to success
Nephew of actor Upendra, who is set to debut with the Yogi Devagange-directorial 2nd Half, tells us how a two-wheeler lesson for Priyanka Upendra landed him the lead role
Displaying all the qualities required to make it big in the Kannada industry, Niranjan Sudhindra seems to have taken after his uncle, Upendra. He has been pushing himself and even attending gymnastics class, which he feels is ‘mandatory for an actor.’
Niranjan, who is kickstarting his career with 2nd Half, landed the lead role in the film quite by chance. “It was a mere accident. Although I having been thinking of taking up acting as a career, I never dreamt that I would begin with a film like 2nd Half. I was in my final-year of Business Administration, when my aunt, Priyanka Upendra (who plays the role of constable in the film), wanted to learn to ride a two-wheeler. While I was teaching her, director Yogi Devagange, spotted me and thought that I would fit the lead role just right,” he says.
Few know that the young hero is a professional dancer, who has specialised in western dance. In addition, Niranjan also has a theatre troupe -- Thaksh Theatrics -- and performs on stage regularly. “Since I’ve grown up being interested in theatre, I’ve closely observed my uncle and his acting style. I’ve also understood the intricacies of camera work since I associated with him in Uppi-2. Initially, I was considering entering the industry after mastering every department. I wanted to hone my skills, come in as a complete package and become a director’s actor. But when 2nd Half happened, I realised that it was the right film to debut with,” says the actor, who consulted his uncle before taking his plunge in the industry. “ He felt that I shouldn’t miss an opportunity that came knocking at my door. His words made me realise that it’s okay to start small and scale up,” he adds.
Niranjan believes that a stint in theatre has the potential to give immense confidence to film aspirants. “As stage actors we have to face a live audience. So, when we move to films and face the camera, it’s much easier. We are confident, know what we are doing and are in control. Theatre teaches an artiste to be spontaneous on the sets. All of these have helped me face the camera,” he says.
Words of wisdom
While Niranjan took the advice of his uncle, he didn’t take advantage of Upendra’s stature in the film industry. Why did he not start his film career under Uppi’s direction? “I would never have been able to ask him that. Probably, because I know that if he feels that a particular role or character will suit me, he will consider and suggest it himself without my asking. When he does offer me such a role, I will accept it,” he says.
But he did take tips from both Upendra and Priyanka before he began shooting for 2nd Half. “They did not go about telling me how to act, but instead advised me to keep a check on my emotions. They told me the importance of patience in this industry, and how to evolve as an actor. They told me not to imitate other actors, and instead work on bringing out the inner artiste in me,” says Niranjan, who shares a lot of screen space with Priyanka in the film. “Off the sets, we are friends, actually more like a mother and son. But while facing the camera, she is a thorough professional. I really had to up my game to match her level of performance. I’m glad that she approved of the way I handled the role. In fact, in one of the scenes I had to hit her, and we pulled it off quite well,” he says.
2nd Half features Niranjan in a ‘subtle’ role, and requires him to pull off different shades to his character. Unlike the regular launch of a hero, Niranjan points out that his role is not a commercial one. “I get to play a negative shade in the beginning, and later it changes. On the whole, it’s unpredictable,” he explains.
Niranjan tells us that his character has many names in the film, including his real name. “This suspense-thriller has me on the run. I am known by various nicknames like Water Lambo (tall person). But my actual name in the film, too, is Niranjan,” he reveals.
The actor makes a special mention of the director, who has 15 plus years of experience, and the cinematographer. “A lot of new elements have been brought into the film by the director. DOP Shivakumar has done a fabulous job with the equipment provided. My aunt is the highlight and beauty of the film,” he says.
The film industry, Niranjan points out, is high on fresh talent at the moment, and films are also focusing on new-age content. “This is very encouraging for freshers like us,” says Niranjan, who is close friends with Shreyas, son of producer, K Manju. An ardent movie-watcher, Niranjan looks for inspiration to the new crop of actors. He closely observes the works of Bollywood heros Ranveer Singh and Tiger Shroff as well. “I watch them to keep track of their style and how I can blend their styles into mine and improvise,” he says, adding, “I want to be an asset to the industry.”