Though Neil Nitin Mukesh comes from a family of singers—his grandfather is the legendary Mukesh and his father Nitin Mukesh is also a popular singer—acting has also been part of the family’s DNA. Neil’s granddad Mukesh played the leading man in some films.
Neil was always more interested in acting than singing, though singing too occupies his creative space.Neil has been seen playing the Bad Guy in a slew of successful South Indian films.
He explains “It has not been a conscious decision, but the antagonists attract me . They are layered , drivers of the film. No hero is complete until he has a complete villain. But that’s only for on screen .Off screen like most iconic villains,the late Pran Saab, Mr Amrish Puri sir, I too am quite soft-natured and kind-hearted. I was the first few to have crossed over and broken the norm that a North actor should not over-expose himself down South .Times have changed. Cinema has erased the thin barriers between language and creativity.India is a big nation with multiple languages and great technicians who execute some masterpieces in every Indian language.”
Neil says he is proud to be seen in cinema in regional languages. “As an actor if people boast of working in Hollywood, I’d rather boast of working in India .I’m proud of the beautiful languages we have . Neil sees cinema in every Indian language doing well, “Cinema all over is doing well ,be it Marathi Tamil Telugu Punjabi , Bengali…. They are all flourishing. In this day and age when films like Baahubali are making all cinema-goers a united front, I was lucky to have been a part of this evolution and done a film SAAHO which we shot simultaneously in many languages.”
Neil has no regrets about serenading the South. “I worked in Kaththi with AR Murugadoss and won a lot of critical acclaim and boxoffice success .I was also the first North Indian boy to be awarded the Siima for his debut film but in a popular category. Best Actor in a negative role . I’m probably one of the few actors to have made a very unconventional debut in Johnny Gaddar , and that too by choice. I have always tried to push myself as an actor . I do not want to be restricted by a certain stereotype or expectation. I like being unpredictable. That is why I have done roles like Saat Khoon Maaf, David, Johnny Gaddar, Indu Sarkar, Wazir , Players , to name a few. But at the same time I like to balance the commercial approach for popular cinema hence big-ticket films like New York, Prem Rattan Dhan Payo and Golmaal .”