‘My sense of cul­tural iden­tity is out of whack’

Pos­sess­ing a quick-wit­ted gift of the gab and im­mer­sive act­ing tal­ent, multi-hy­phen­ated Nik Do­dani is one of the talents to look out for this year

The Hindu - - CINEMA PLUS - Divya Kala Bha­vani

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A few ‘lat­er­gram’ posts on Nik Do­dani’s In­sta­gram places him at Cape Town Film Stu­dios in South Africa, where he filmed

now in the­atres across In­dia. The posts brim with dry and witty hu­mour cou­pled with sass, much like his char­ac­ter on TV show in which he plays the charis­matic and openly gay Pat Pa­tel. Nik is steal­ing hearts and gazes with his im­pres­sive tal­ent.

The 25-year-old grew up in Ari­zona in the United States and adds it was “a part of Ari­zona with a bunch of rich white kids, some of whom con­fused me for their lo­cal Navajo tribesman.” He tacks on, “Safe to say my sense of cul­tural iden­tity is com­pletely out of whack.”

Net­flix snagged the ac­tor’s talents too, shov­ing him into the spot­light with roles as Zahid in and as Blake in

“Work­ing on has been a dream,” he com­ments, “The cast, pro­duc­ers, writ­ers, di­rec­tors, crew — ev­ery­one has been in­cred­i­bly warm and wel­com­ing. I feel like I’ve re­ally cut my teeth work­ing on I’ve learned a lot and think I’ve grown as an ac­tor be­cause of the show.” now run­ning strong in its third sea­son, fol­lows the ro­man­tic and fam­ily-ori­ented mile­stones ex­pe­ri­enced by a high school stu­dent

Room — Mur­phy Brown Atyp­i­cal Strangelove. Atyp­i­cal. Es­cape Alex Atyp­i­cal Atyp­i­cal,

on the autism spec­trum — with the con­tin­u­ally press­ing ques­tion of ‘what is nor­mal?’

Hav­ing starred as the geeky Danny Khan in Nik fi­nally got his feet wet with the ac­tion-thriller genre. In the film we see walls be­ing closed in, tem­per­a­tures raised to flesh-scald­ing and other hor­rific predica­ments. Nat­u­rally, he had to push him­self phys­i­cally. Di­rec­tor Adam Ro­bi­tel, best known for

(2014) and

Lo­gan Es­cape Room, The Tak­ing of Deb­o­rah In­sid­i­ous: The

(2018) was quite the pull­fac­tor here. Nik com­pleted the ex­pe­ri­ence with a greater wealth of knowl­edge, ex­plain­ing, “I learned that I have no ex­cuse not to ex­er­cise when I’m shoot­ing just be­cause ‘I’m busy.’ Adam had a mini­gym wher­ever he went on set and was do­ing in­tense weight lift­ing be­tween most takes. Very im­pres­sive.”

Last Septem­ber, he had Stephen Col­bert’s au­di­ence laugh­ing dur­ing a stand-up on

What did the ex­pe­ri­ence teach him? Well, he’s quite suc­cinct about it, “Stand-up is ex­haust­ing, I don’t get how the pro’s do it. I have mad re­spect for them.”

So what’s the ver­sa­tile artiste up to now? He’s cur­rently work­ing on a screen­play for the movie adap­ta­tion of Lambda Lit­er­ary award­win­ning writ­ten by In­dian-Amer­i­can au­thor Rakesh Satyal who’s also penned the

Last Key Show. Blue Boy The Late

suc­cess­ful

No One Can Pro­nounce My Name.

It’s an ex­cit­ing link-up for Nik, to say the least. fol­lows 12-year-old Ki­ran Sharma who’s a bit of an out­cast be­cause he prefers to in­dulge bal­let and play­ing with his mother’s makeup. He also reveres his In­dian her­itage and con­vinces him­self that the rea­son he’s hav­ing trou­ble fit­ting in is be­cause he’s ac­tu­ally the tenth rein­car­na­tion of Lord Kr­ishna.

Nik re­calls the link-up, “Last sum­mer, af­ter I read for the first time, I DM’d Rakesh on In­sta­gram

Blue Boy Blue Boy

like a silly fan­boy. We even­tu­ally met up at a gay bar in New York and hit it off, and now we’re work­ing to­gether. I’m al­most fin­ished with the screen­play and can’t wait for the world to see the movie one day.”

Nik is one of the golden few who’s paved the way for LGBTQI artistes of In­dian-ori­gin. What ad­vice does he have for fu­ture en­trants? “Take as many classes as you can, make real friends, don’t take your­self too se­ri­ously, and please don’t steal my jobs, thanks.”

Nik Do­dani; a still from Mur­phy Brown

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