For Nihal playing the living legend and businessman Vijay Sankeshar on the big screen is a big deal. The one-film-old actor, who marked his debut with Trunk, calls it a fanboy’s wish fulfilled. It was the actor’s initiative that brought this film directed by Rishika Sharma a reality.
“Coming from North Karnataka, (Hubli, Dharwad), I grew up listening to my father talks about the inspirational works of Vijay Sir, and his son Anand. It got stuck in my mind for a long time. Maniratnam’s Guru, which I watched during my school days, was another inspiration. I’m a keen follower of biopics and they are my favourite genre. Incidentally, I got to be part of one such subject, “ says Nihal, who considers himself lucky to play the role of Vijay Sankeshwar in Vijayanand.
“It was after Trunk, Rishika, and I were discussing our next, and I popped up the idea of doing a biopic of Vijay Sankeshwar. After much thought, and a week into the initial discussion, Rishika felt it was the best project to take off, and we went ahead,” says Nihal.
Initially, Nihal and the director visited Vijay Sankeshwar, only to get the rights of making his biopic, but eventually the latter decided to make the film under his VRL Production marking their maiden venture. “Only when I gave them the 8th draft, Vijay sir decided to take up the project, With Vijay’s son Anand Sankeshwar stepping in, the film has lifted by ten folds. We considered it as a blessing,” he says.
For a one-film-old actor, isn’t this biopic of Vijay Sankeshwar a bit early in Nihal’s career, did he feel capable to pull off this role of a legendary person?
“I want to be one of the top actors not only in Karnataka but also in India, for which I had to portray something with ‘unique’ roles. Secondly, I have been in this industry for 9 years and I have not been given an opportunity. I started my career in 2012 beginning with theatre, as an anchor, got into serials, and worked as a character artiste, as a villain. It is only after Trunk, I was offered Vijayanand. According to the audience, I’m still a beginner, but I have also had my share of experience before reaching here. It is nothing but self-confidence that helped me to pull off this role,” he says.
Nihal has three looks in the film and for the middle-aged getup, the actor had to put on 22 kgs.
“I have not tried to imitate Vijay Sankeshwar, but keeping his signature moves in mind, we have created a character. As a team, we did 18 months of preparation and referred to articles and photos worth 250 GB. All the actors attended 45 days of the workshop for their respective roles. I wanted to represent Vijay Sankeshwar, on screen, and nowhere exhibit my personality,” he says.
Nihal strongly feels that the story of Vijay Sankeshwar should be told to the world. “Through this film, Vijayanand, our aim was to inspire youngsters and anyone who watches the film. Success doesn’t have a shortcut, it is a life lesson to be learned through the life of Vijay Sankeshwar and his son. Their work is more like a guide to many upcoming entrepreneurs.”