Five minutes with Neil Bhoopalam


Five minutes with Neil Bhoopalam

The actor's ill-fated NH10 journey gave him the jitters off-screen as well

By Arshie Chevalwala  March 5th, 2015

“It portrays the picture of a very violent India,” is all that Neil Bhoopalam’s giving away about his new blood-soaked thriller, starring a helpless/murderous (the ambiguous trailer has us really rooting for the latter) Anushka Sharma, who debuts her production company, Clean Slate Films with NH10, out this month. After roles in a string of ensemble projects, from Anil Kapoor’s 24 to Rensil D’Silva’s Ungli (2014),  Bhoopalam finally has his first “A-list” experience with NH10, a film that follows the journey of two city slickers travelling on the road for a luxury desert holiday. Everything goes violently downhill from there.

Bhoopalam, 31, had trouble relating to the motives and consequences of irrepressible rage that feature in the movie. “There’s a scene where a guy slaps me, and the story depends on my character’s reaction. I just couldn’t understand that kind of anger; you don’t see it so much in Bombay.”

But while travelling to Delhi from the film’s Jodhpur set, the actor had a rude lesson on the inflammability of highway scuffles. “There was a huge pile-up and an agitated trucker was cussing at everyone. When our driver tried to stop him, he got mad and tried to break our windshield. It scared the shit out of me, but I got it,” he says.

After working the theatre scene for years (his latest, The Merchant Of Venice, opened in February), Bhoopalam  attended more acting workshops for “chemistry building” with  Sharma, which helped them “get on the same meter”. And master synchronised steel-rod swings, we presume.

NH10 releases on March 13