Nilesh Sahay wants to be a bankable actor (Interview)

Mumbai Feb 18 (Calcutta Tube) Nilesh Sahai has a legendary film legacy with greats like Sunil Dutt and Nargis as his grand uncle and aunt, respectively, and the newcomer, who is debuting with ‘Angel‘ after having remained behind the camera, wants to carve a niche as a bankable actor like his illustrious family members.

‘You have to be bankable. A lot of money is riding on you, so you better be bankable. I would definitely want to be a more bankable actor,’ Nilesh told IANS in an interview.

The 27-year-old, son of yesteryear actress Zaheeda, who teamed up with Dev Anand in films like ‘Gambler’ and ‘Prem Pujari’, is aware of the financial turmoil that crippled Bollywood in the last five years.

‘I know the industry needs hits. The number of flops it has suffered in last five years… so now if everyone’s film does well it would be a boom,’ said Nilesh.

‘Angel’, releasing Friday, is choreographer Ganesh Acharya’s third directorial venture.

‘I had heard many scripts, but when I heard Ganeshji’s script, I genuinely liked it. We were at the same level of passion and enthusiasm for the film, so I agreed to go ahead to make a debut with it,’ said Nilesh.

However, the young actor preferred to build a strong platform before taking up his debut project.

‘I stared working at the age of 16 as assistant copywriter. I went to New York Film Academy to learn acting. After I came back, I did theatre with late Girish Desai. Then I started working in production, exhibition and distribution,’ said Nilesh.

‘I am extremely passionate about films and I have always been inclined towards the creative arts, so whether it’s writing or directing plays in school or anything to do with creativity, I was always inclined towards it.

‘It’s a boom that your family is there so, but it’s my personal passion that drove me into cinema,’ said Nilesh whose uncle Sanjay Dutt is a prominent name on the Bollywood boulevard.

Explaining his family ties with Sanjay Dutt, he said: ‘Four generations of my family are connected to the industry. My great grandmother Jaddanbai was the first lady producer-director and women music director of Bollywood. She had three kids – Fatima Rashid (Nargis), Akhtar Hussain and Anwar Hussain. My mom Zaheeda Hussain is daughter of Akhtar Hussain and Nargis’s niece. That way Sanju mama is mom’s first cousin.’

Nilesh says he ‘consults everything with Sanju mama. I run things past him.’

Is he scared of expectations from people?

‘Of course, I feel the pressure because people expect a lot from me. They expect a lot from you for everything. Not only the audience, people you work with. The industry expects much more from you than any other debutant.’

The actor is sure he can’t match the contribution his elders have made to the industry.

‘They have contributed so much that if I can now contribute five percent, I would feel I have been able to do a lot. I honestly want to do what I believe in. Every one makes money after a certain time, but initially you do films for your creative satisfaction.

‘I would like to contribute something which I feel would entertain the audience in such a way that one would like to come back and watch my films and love me for myself,’ said Nilesh.

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