Nobody back in Kerala knew I got an award at the Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival: Nasser Latif
Nasser Latif was honoured with the Honourable Jury Mention - Actor Award at the 8th Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival 2018 for his performance as a retired schoolmaster in ‘Ashique Vanna Divasam’.
KOCHI: Many times what you portray on screen in some way or the other has a bit of a connection with real life. It might be a minuscule one, but the link... it is very much there. In the case of actor Nasser Latif, a multifaceted personality, the connection between the character he essays in his latest movie ‘Ashique Vanna Divasam’ and his real life is his struggle. While he struggles to get information regarding his son who is in Afghanistan in the movie, in real life he is struggling to make it big as an actor.
“My heart broke and it bleeds!” says Latif, who was recently honoured with the Honourable Jury Mention - Actor Award at the 8th Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival 2018 for his performance as a retired schoolmaster in ‘Ashique Vanna Divasam’. “After receiving rave reviews for both my performance and the movie from everyone at the national-level film festival, when I came back to my home state, I realised nothing’s changed. I am still a nobody. Nobody even knew that I got such an award. Can you imagine such a scenario in the case of stars?”
The trials and tribulations of Latif, who eats, breathes and sleeps cinema, don’t seem to end. “The movie has been scheduled for release next month, but I have to get a date yet. When I approach the theatres, they tell me that the date for a Friday release can be confirmed only by Wednesday or Thursday. How can a producer who believes in making good cinema and that too using hard-earned money gamble around Rs 30-40 lakh needed for the distribution of the film based on the criteria put forth by the theatres?” asks Latif, adding that he is keeping his fingers crossed and praying for the success of the movie, which has Priyamani playing the female lead.
Latif is very critical of the movies that are now considered to be popular. “Out of the nearly 200 films that are produced, only around 20 can be called good. But these 20 never get the viewership nor promotion. The awards that ‘Ashique Vanna Divasam’ won in Hyderabad and Delhi show that it is a movie that has an essence,” he says.“The role in ‘Ashique Vanna Divasam’ is a dream come true for me,” says Latif, who has essayed small roles in Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi movies in a 44-year career that also saw him doing TV serials and ads.
“When Krish Kymal called me up one fine morning, I didn’t know that a huge opportunity had come knocking. He told me that he has a good story and asked whether I would like to essay the lead role. After reading the script, I fell in love with the character and decided to do the role besides producing the film,” he says.
“I love doing character roles, but always get typecast as a rich CEO, dad or a manager,” he says dejectedly. So in order to ditch the rich tag, Latif stopped shaving his beard. “When you see the film, you will be able to see the huge change in my physical appearance,” he says.
The film - the shooting for which was wrapped up in 20 days - delves deeply into the relationship between a father-in-law and his daughter-in-law. “Though they are in-laws, their bond is very strong like that between a father and a daughter,” he says. “We were able to finish the shooting quickly because of the rapport that existed not only between the actors but also the rest of the crew.”
Latif was thrilled to work with Priyamani. “After every shot, she would congratulate me for a good performance. I told her I was forced to since she was such a good actor.” Some of the films that he has acted in are ‘Yennai Arindhaal’, ‘Killer’, ‘Don Khan’, ‘Chandrayaan’, ‘Ramleela’, ‘Honeybee 2.5’, ‘Sunday Holiday’ and ‘Ore Mukham’.