In Conversation with Actor Nakul Vaid: On Xhoixobote Dhemalite (Rainbow Fields) and More…

Actor Nakul Vaid is someone whom we have all gone on to be familiar over the years thanks to an impressive body of work which includes films like Baghban, Ab Tak Chappan, Chak De India and The Lunchbox. He has also worked in regional films like Shankachil (Bengali) andEkhon Nedekha Nodir Xhipare/as the River flows (Assamese). With Xhoixobote Dhemalite (Rainbow Fields) we see Nakul Vaid once again teaming up with writer-director Bidyut Kotoky. The film which is now finally ready for release. Here’s Nakul Vaid in a free wheeling chat with MAM on Rainbow Fields and more.

Please tell us how you would define ‘Rainbow Fields’.

At a very simple level, the film is about the impact of violence on kids growing up in regions affected by violence. Also, something that may seem very innocent and simple can have very serious implications.

That sounds interesting. So, what interested you to become a part?

Definitely, the script first. As Bidyut Kotoky (the director of Rainbow Fields) and I have worked in the past, we are also friends. So, when Bidyut approached me with the story, I was anyway ready to be a part of it because of our friendship. However, he insisted that I do the film only if I believed in the script, a gesture that I really respect. So, I read the script and really loved it. After that, if there’s a rapport with a friend, it helps.

Correct. However, when you worked with him in the past on ‘As the River Flows’, what impacted your decision?

Again, primarily the script. I liked my character. Everyone has a point of view, and I liked the perspective of my character and where it comes from. For an actor, the two things that matter are the scripts and our parts. Even if it’s a great script, but you don’t have anything to do, then there is no point. ‘As the River Flows’ offered me both, so I grabbed it.

We have also heard that you are involved in ‘Rainbow Fields’ as more than just an actor. Please tell us something about it.

Once I liked the script and came on board, I wanted to see it happen. Personally, I don’t believe in being overly professional. Sometimes, I feel that in today’s times even interpersonal connections have become very professional, almost corporate-like. A few decades ago, people in this country needed to learn how to become professional. However, we have reached a point in the world, where we need to take things a little more lightly. A lot of people involved in this project were doing things beyond their call of duty. There were these spot-boys who travelled from Mumbai to Guwahati (for around 36 hours) sitting outside toilets in trains as there were no confirmed, which was in turn due to the uncertainty of the shoot schedule. Also, there weren’t enough facilities for the cast and crew at the location. So, the producers physically made arrangements to make everyone comfortable. Budget was obviously a constraint for the film. When we were almost on the verge of completing, we again fell short of funds. I realized that everyone is taking a pay cut to get the film made. So, I decided that I don’t want my remuneration, which was anyway a nominal amount, so not a big deal to part with. The truth is that everyone is doing his or her bit, or even more. So, I don’t know why I should be the standout guy. It was more of helping a friend organically because I had some spare money. I don’t like calling myself a producer.

We know that there was a Wishberry campaign for the film. Please let us know more about it and its impact on the film.

There is not much that I have done in this. Firstly, we need funds to release the film now, though I don’t know the exact amount. Secondly, a campaign like this reaches out to people but doesn’t force people to put in money. However, if they believe in the film and want to be a part of it, they can chip in. It’s almost like selling an IPO. A lot of people cannot produce a film, so they also get to be a part of a film and be called a filmmaker in their own right. Even more importantly, from the maker’s side and investor’s side, there are more people who believe in the film and will in turn reach out to more people. It creates better goodwill for the film. So, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.

Given the language restriction of an Assamese film and Assam’s inadequate infrastructure to make a film commercially successful, how does emergence of digital platform impact films like ‘Rainbow Field’?

In all fairness, the emergence of digital media is very crucial for all kinds of films. On the one hand, no film can reach out to all the audiences around the world. On the other hand, it is not possible for a viewer to watch films from all over the world in theatres. So, it’s again a win-win situation for both makers and viewers. The stakes are low for the viewers as well because they are not paying per film; so it doesn’t pinch them. Also, with the world becoming smaller and people’s mindset becoming wider, every film is now an international film. It is also good for the digital platform makers because they are getting more audience who have lesser access to international films otherwise. Finally, for films facing censorship issues otherwise, digital is great platform.

Please tell us something about your difficulty in dealing with Assamese as a language.

That was the only difficult thing about acting in this film. Though it is bilingual, I have to speak Assamese throughout the film. Besides the fact that it’s a difficult language, I am naturally not good with languages. Generally artists are good, but it’s a handicap for me. Initially, when Bidyut approached me, I was supposed to a smaller role. But then he gave me the main role. I didn’t know whether I should be happy or sad (laughs) because I had to learn all those lines. Also, the time available was less, and I had no coach in Mumbai to help me with it. So, I had around 5 days to learn the full script. So, I used to record and listen to it over and over again. The other challenge was that I sound completely different from the locals when I speak in Assamese. So, in a dialogue, though I know what the other person is saying as I have learned the script, I didn’t follow the exact words used by others. So, I didn’t know how to react to which word, and often I had no clue when the other person was over and when I was supposed to start. It was largely a problem of timing. However, it also gave rise to some spontaneity and magic in the scenes as well.

As we have discussed how your relation with Bidyut over the two films, tell us how has it been different compared to working with other directors with whom we have worked twice – Goutam Ghose (who is a reputed cinematographer) and Shimit Amit (who is a wonderful editor).

Goutam Da is a very visual director. So, he knows what visuals he wants when a certain line is being spoken. His things are very choreographed or designed in that sense. However, for someone like Bidyut, it’s more about storytelling with the emphasis on the feeling. Also, with Bidyut, there was a lot of give and take in terms of suggestions. Whereas for Goutam Da, he used to tell me how he would edit the film, and how he wants me to take a certain turn while saying a line so that he gets something in the background. On the other hand, Shimit thinks like an editor. So, he takes various magnifications for the same line or shot. I remember for a particular scene, I had already done it numerous times. So, when I was doing it again, I asked him, ‘Shimit, I have already done this so many times.’ So, he started laughing and said how I could lightly in that particular take because he knew what would be seen in the cut. Shimit’s edit is always interesting and he wants different edit options. So, for all these three directors, their backgrounds also dictate their making, but largely they are all very sensitive people. And that’s what makes them so nice to work with.

We at Madaboutmoviez wish Nakul and the entire team of Rainbow Fields the very best for their film.

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