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Nishikant Kamat: A Good Filmmmaker, A better Actor & An Even Better Human Being



Nishikant Kamat: A Good Filmmmaker, A better Actor & An Even Better Human Being 12

I had  known  Nishikant Kamat  for 15 years. Always  polite ,always  softspoken, respectful and shy of  the media except me who he said he respected too much to avoid. Nishikant had  a habit of disappearing for  long periods. He said he was constantly travelling  into  the interiors  of  the  country.  I had no idea  about his  struggle  with alcoholism which  finally took his life.

    I  first got to know Nishikant when he made that exceptional Marathi  film  Dombivali West which was quickly remade  into Tamil as   Evano Oruvan,with my  dear friend Madhavan in  the lead.

  Nishikant  quickly became a successful director in Bollywood. But he hardly had any  friends in  the Mumbai film industry except John Abraham with whom  he did  the successful  Force  and Rocky Handsome.   But    my favourite Kamat film will remain  Mumbai Meri Jaan . It  traces the trauma after the train blasts on July 11, 2006.

 In an interview to me  he said  cinema must reflect the reality  of the times.  “We’re going through very troubled times. Cinema is meant to reflect contemporary reality. All these films on terrorism coming together is just a bizarre, not a bazaar coincidence. My idea behind making Mumbai Meri Jaan is to show how people survive a personal tragedy. I was more interested in the characters than the tragedy of the train blasts.I’m sure a lot of people went through the same emotions after the blasts. I haven’t experienced any of the things shown in my film. But I’m sure they’ve happened to people. I lived with my characters for two years. They drained me emotionally.Any act of extremism over a city causes the anthill effect. A stone hits the anthill, the ants are traumatised. But they immediately get to rebuilding it.We’re truly tolerant. After each attack people feel helpless. But Mumbaikars do have the inner strength to bounce back.”

Sadly Nishikant  got bogged down  doing remakes , like  the Ajay Devgan  starrer   Driysham which I don’t   see as  Nishikant’s best. He  was  far more  effective  while directing original  films  like  the Riteish Deshmukh Marathi  starrer   Laai Bhari  in 2014   and  the  2017  Irrrfan vigilante drama Madaari

We  used  to discuss why  Nishikant needed  to  do  so many remakes when his  original films were his  best, and he  promised he  would make  more original  film  in  the  future.

Not many know this.  But  Nishikant was  terrific actor.See him a bipolar  college professor  in  Prawal Raman’s 404 Error Not  Found. Prawaal  confessed he would  not  have made  the film if   Nishikant had  not agreed  to  play the  pivotal  part. Nishikant didn’t enjoy  facing the camera.  But he was stellar as  a villain in Vikramaditya Motwane’ Bhavesh Joshi.

“How can a  man  so gentle play someone  so  brutal?” I asked.

“Even I don’t  how , Sir.  There  must be  some unexplored evil inside me,” he laughed.

Sorry, I only saw a decent  kind gentle person who didn’t quite  get his due.                                                                   

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