Hollywood actors

Anant Nag: I learned a lot watching Hollywood actors

In the Kannada classic ‘Mungaru Male’ (2006), Anant Nag’s character Major Subbaiah affectionately calls the protagonist (Ganesh) ‘young man’. In reality, age doesn’t matter to Anant Nag as he can put many young actors to shame with his fitness, style, and enthusiasm.

“Even before I became an actor, I was disciplined and mindful of my physical condition,” he tells Showtime, recalling his childhood, which was split between Anand Ashram in Puttur in Dakshina Kannada and Chitrapur Math in Shirali in Uttara. Kannada.

“When I joined Mumbai University, NCC training was compulsory for two years. It pushed me to be in shape and it helped me in theater later,” he says.

It is his humility that makes Anant Nag call himself an “accidental actor”. Indian cinema will be eternally grateful to him for his chance encounter with the stalwarts of Mumbai theater in the 1970s. the movie theater.

“I’ve acted in 50 plays in five years. I had many interesting roles in Konkani, Marathi, Kannada and Hindi theatre,” he proudly recalls.

In movies, it’s not easy to box Anant Nag into an acting category. He can impress you with his ease in any role.

“When I saw a lot of English films early in my career, I liked their realistic acting. I tried to bring that into my style. The naturalness, especially of the older generation like Peter O’ Toole, Richard Burton and Marlon Brando, left a big impact on me,” he says.

Anant Nag’s filmography shows that he is one of the few veterans of commercial cinema to have worked with art house giants like Shyam Benegal and MS Sathyu. He developed an understanding of cinema as these directors reflected on society through their works.

“For these directors, cinema was not just an entertainment medium. They tried to educate and enlighten. Through films, they commented on what was happening around them,” he says.

Anant Nag appealed to all audiences with his choice of good roles. In ‘Bayalu Daari’ (1976), he acted with the model of a commercial cinema hero. In ‘Naa Ninna Bidalaare’ (1979), he succeeded in the horror genre. Her beauty was perfect for the love story in ‘Chandanada Gombe’ (1979). Soon, Anant Nag expanded her lineup by playing a dual role in ‘Narada Vijaya’ (1980).

“I used to consciously select subjects. I would look for variety. Moreover, I wanted to be an actor and not a star. I’ve always told people not to put my posters outside cinemas,” he explains.

No discussion of Anant Nag is complete without mention of his comedic successes. He created the magic in ‘Ganeshana Maduve’ (1990) and the film sparked a chain of tumultuous sequels like ‘Gowri Ganesha’ (1990), ‘Undu Hoda Kondu Hoda’ (1991) and ‘Yarigu Helbedi’ (1994). These are films watched over and over again by families to this day.

“I had success in romantic roles, then came Phani Ramachandra who cast me in ‘Ganeshana Maduve’. With that movie, I falsified the idea that there should be a separate comedian in a film. I thank director RD Kamath for introducing me to humor when I was in the theater. He taught me the nuances of natural comedy and slapstick,” he says.

In Karnataka, there is a strong nostalgia for his brother Shankar. People fondly remember his works even two decades after his untimely death in an accident. Nag brothers’ films like “Minchina Ota” (1979), Accident (1985) and Nodi Swamy Navirodu Heege (1985) were considered ahead of their time and have now achieved cult status.

Anant Nag calls the timeless TV series “Malgudi Days” as one of Shankar’s finest achievements. “He did serious theater in Mumbai before finding his calling in commercial films. But when he got the chance to do ‘Malgudi Days’ he went ahead and did it. He proved his caliber with. People remember him for that. This is what brought him into the hearts of people all over India,” he says.

Emerging directors are delighted to work with him. Anant Nag’s thirst to match their vision has resulted in excellent next generation Kannada films. He observes the styles of the new brigade and adapts to them. “Hemanth (Rao) is intense while Rishab (Shetty) makes lighter films. Then there’s Yogaraj (Bhat) who balances entertainment and subject matter,” he observes.

The way he has remained relevant throughout his career makes him an all-time favorite in Kannada cinema. “So many times young kids have told me they love me. And then they say their parents and grandparents are my fans too,” he laughs.

Truly, an actor for all ages!