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The Stiletto Diaries  In Conversation With Actor Neil Nitin Mukesh

Respect And Integrity Are Earned

“It’s important that every-time you go to bed, you can sleep with a clear conscience,”says fashion’s chocolate poster boy, actor, sought-after showstopper, Neil NitinMukesh. In a Goa mode of mood, he shares personal insights into his times, experiences and learnings, with Goa’s Fashion and Lifestyle writer, ETHEL DA COSTA. 

In the 5 Fashion Weeks I’ve done rapid-fire across the country in 5 months, I’ve seen Neil Nitin at 4 of them. Front row or on the ramp. Sitting him down to get this questionnaire answered was a 24-hour task in waiting, but the man did do it. And here it is:

5 things I love about Goa– There’s nothing you can really abhor about Goa … I love everything really, right from the culture to the gourmet, to the people to the sight-seeing and sounds. The minute I set foot onto Goan shores, I just lose track of time, everything is so aesthetic, vintage and unruffled. Goa for me is all about that exclusive me-time of not having to constantly maintain a public image. I come to Goa on and off to seek privacy from the paparazzi and indulge in sensory pleasures. If I had to list down 5 things, it would be sundowners by the beach, architectural wonders, lip-smacking fish-curry-rice and adventure sports. Goa is all about living life without having to be part of any rat race- it’s a place that believes in live, love and merry-make!

What is your personal style statement?

Keep it chic, comfortable and casual. Most of the time you’ll catch me hanging out in my white tee, baseball cap and faded denims. But having said that, I still love my tuxedo, pocket square and bow tie. So I’m more the dress to the occasion kind of a guy. I’m not someone who follows runway trends blindly. For me it’s all about creating style rather than replicating style.

4 movies that changed your life?

  • The Godfather– It strengthened my belief in the fact that every film needs a villain in equal proportions like a hero – pure class, pure brilliance. Written impeccably, enacted flawlessly and directed stupendously. This film re-defined movies and started a new era of motion pictures. This truly is the greatest film ever.
  • The Notebook– It taught me how love is such a strong emotion and can breathe life into death. It is truly a love story for the ages, as the audience gets to see the couple in nearly every part of their life … The Notebook is a sentimental fantasy, but this fantasy is not harmful; we tell ourselves stories every day, to make life more bearable. Young love – the old-fashioned kind that flourished before the age of the hook-up – has always been one of the most challenging emotions to portray on the screen with any specificity. It is a high-toned cinematic greeting card that insists on till-death-do-us-part love, and won’t have it any other way.
  • Mughal E Azam– It taught me why a classic will always be a masterpiece that can never be replicated – a true masterpiece, featuring some of the greatest actors ever to grace the Indian screen.  The grandiose look, the extraordinary musical score, the mind-blowing war scenes, outstanding performances, the well-known romance between Salim and Anarkali, this film will always remain as a point of reference.
  • Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge– It taught me how every Simran needs a Raj. This film brought back the era of love stories. It is not just a movie; it is an experience of love. It makes you want to fall in love and be loved. 20 years hence, this story still has a charm that is incomparable. This movie makes you believe in the idea of love and convinces you that fighting for your love is definitely worth it! DDLJ has made me laugh, cry, and fall in love.

Neil_Nitin_MukeshWhat are the values you hold dear?

There are many values that I have been brought up with, so it would be unfair to really handpick a few. So I’d like to give you some of my priorities. The most important one is about being a good human being; the rest just falls into place when you start utilizing your inborn abilities for the betterment of others … It’s important that everytime you go to bed you can sleep with a clear conscience. Another very important value is faith, whether it’s in the Almighty or another human being … Certain things in life require a bit of faith, because the world isn’t black and white. Sometimes you need a little bit of unknown to accomplish things you never thought you could. Honesty feels like something you don’t come by often these days, but in the realm of human values, it is extremely important. The idea of staying true to oneself can often feel intimidating and impossible, but what most people fail to realize is that it is not the act of simply telling the truth that makes someone honest, rather the quality of person who is being honest. Only when you can trust yourself, you can trust another. I endorse integrity, compassion and discipline and it’s okay to sound outdated at times, but it’s not okay to be in imbalance with the basic laws of nature.

Neil Nitin Mukesh - Photo Credits Munna Singh (2)

Changes you see in Bollywood movies of today and how they relate to Gen Next?

The Hindi film industry is fast becoming a playground for all kinds of cinema to be part of the game at the same time. With shifting audience tastes dictating novelty in content, film-watching patterns must also change. Filmmaking, at the end of the day, is about good ideas and not budgets. While a lot is being said about the 100 crore-plus box-office stats driving the business, every filmmaker knows that cinema is ultimately about expressing a vision. Ultimately, the audience cannot be fooled if the content is weak irrespective of the extensive promotions undertaken before a film launch … Films have to be made on novel storylines and, most importantly, narrated in an engaging manner. Most box-office hits, big and small, in recent times have shown that the popular desire for novelty is here to stay. The trend now is to create believable characters and relatable situations. The audience is growing receptive to genres that did not find wide acceptance even a few years ago with an increasing demand for women-oriented subjects, bio-pics, and films without songs, among other genres so far considered unconventional in Hindi films.

Ethel  Da Costa: is an award-winning, Goa-based Fashion & Lifestyle writer-Journalist, Published Author, Professional Entrepreneur, Concept Consultant and Commentator-Columnist of all things politically incorrect. Her work profile includes Femina, The Times Of India, The International Film Festival Of India, Radio Mirchi and currently Founder-CEO of Think Geek Media, A Media and Lifestyle Company. She is also a regular contributor to Goa Streets.

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Ethel - by Prasad Pankar