What Lies Beneath: ‘Nana Patekar’

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Mumbai: We all know him as the angry man on celluloid, but on meeting him, all preconceived notions and illusions about Nana Patekar vanish. While he is definitely impulsive and quick to act, he also displays a lot of sensitivity, especially in his interactions with others, which forms a large part of his emotional makeup.

This was evident from others’ anecdotes about him, be it his manager who seemed relieved to be working with someone as generous as him, the journalist who came out gushing and awe-struck as she spoke about her rendezvous with him or our photographer, who, Patekar happily obligednamely posing for myriad shots and turned out to be a photographer’s delight! The actor is a man of few words as is visible when he retorts with ‘Why should I tell you the story?’ when asked about Ab Tak Chhapan 2 which is almost 18 years aheadof the original and will see him playing a 60-year old encounter specialist.

“In the prequel, my character was 42-43, now he’s 60, he must have been in jail, was perhaps punished forcases against him so it’s a different time and space. Now he’s both a father and mother to his son, is totally dejected, doesn’t have any connections with anybody and is in a small village away from the city,” explains Patekar as he vividly describes his character.“Earlier, there were scams worth `5, 10, 20 crores, now not only are there scams of thousands of crores, but literate people are also engaged in crimes.

Formerly, mostly unemployed, illiterate people were criminals, but now highly educated people are becoming criminals so it’s all the more difficult to deal with them. My character is called to solve certain problems and the film is about how he deals with those problems,” said Patekar after much prodding.

Playing an encounter specialist is no mean feat and like most actors, initially, Patekar adequately geared himself for his role, met other police personnel and tried to understand their psyche while prepping for the film’s prequel. “I tried to understand how they come to terms with the trauma that surrounds killing someone, how it’s possible for them to eat after killing somebody, go home, help with your child’s homework and even be lovey, dovey with your wife.”

Contrary to reports, Patekar does not play Gul Panag’s father in the film in Ab… she is his friend’s daughter. “She’s not my daughter, but I’m protective about her,” he explains, again, choosing to be vague while still stressing that Panag too has a significant role in the film. But that’s not all, Patekar has a host of other films lined up, which include Welcome Back, his continued…

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