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The Clown Prince

Friday, March 04, 2011

Neil Bhoopalam wears many hats – he’s been an RJ, a VJ, dabbled in advertising, done theatre and even has a few Bollywood movies to his name. Glynda Alves talks to the multi talented actor to find out which role he loves the most…

When you meet Neil Bhoopalam it’s hard not to smile… and harder not to laugh. This guy was born to entertain. And that shows through the various fields he’s been associated with since he was 21. You’ll know him as a voice from Radio Mirchi, a face from Channel V, the spirit behind many plays and finally as Jessica’s liver-lilied boyfriend, Vikram Jai Singh in No One Killed Jessica. We catch up with the talented actor to find out more about his passions and what comes next…

You started off as a VJ before getting into theatre. Why did you decide to make the move?
I’ve been a stage actor years before I was a VJ. While hosting, theatre took a back-seat. Post Channel V though, I did many productions. I always wanted to try all aspects of media, VJ-ing being one of them. Two years with Channel V was good enough for me! I came. I saw. I anchored. Now my focus is on acting, be it stage or film.

Have the transitions been easy?
The only thing tough about it was no more steady flow of income.

And now you’re in films! How was working on No One Killed Jessica?
I feel very proud to be part of NOKJ, if I remember correctly I was one of the last members to be cast for this project. It was fun working with Rajkumar Gupta.

Do you have any more projects lined up?
I’m currently shooting for an Anurag Kashyap produced film called Shaitan which is directed by Bejoy Nambiar.

And in March I’m off for the UK tour of Hamlet- The Clown Prince which is directed by Rajat Kapoor. It’s a play that has been running to full houses in India and internationally. Plus, it's great fun performing it! We’re a bunch of clowns staging Shakespeare's Hamlet, (only these clowns have a slightly different understanding of the script.) in this production I’m Fido, a clown who plays King Claudis and the Gost of Hamlet's father.

Are you excited about the UK tour?
I am very excited for the UK tour. We’ll be performing all of March at different cities (New Castle, Warwick, Brighton and London). Heard it's very cold this time of the year… so have to get some woollies.

Your choice of movies isn’t the run of the mill commercial flicks. Are you consciously choosing projects that are a tad bit off beat?
To be honest, it's not like offers are pouring in, I’ve only just begun. So there is no choice I’m making. I do however have to make the most of what comes my way.

Purab Kohli, Ranvir Shorey and you… there’s a new breed of Indian actors that don’t fit the conventional “hero” mould. Do you think Indian cinema is growing?
We will always have our crowd pleaser films, which is fine. How I see Indian cinema growing is that along with those films we now have films catering to different sectors/audiences.

Will we be ever be seeing you in slicked hair-chiseled abs-hero mode any time soon?
There are more than enough actors in Mumbai that fit that bill. However if I do have to do it I’ll need decent prep time and the phone number of Hritik Roshan's personal trainer.

Which actor would you like to work with in the future?
I don't have a favourite actor whom I’d look forward to acting with.

VJ, theatre star or Bollywood hunk… which do you prefer?

What else have you got lined up?
I’m doing show's of One on One, Me Kash & Cruize and Project S.T.R.I.P

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