Bengaluru: Anant Nag is among the few who can speak from experience on what it is like to be an actor and a politician. Apart from being a versatile actor across all media, he was a minister during the tenure of J H Patel as Karnataka chief minister.
So during an interactive session at the 12th edition of Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFes) on Tuesday, Anant Nag was asked which role was more difficult, acting the role of a politician or a being a politician.
“It is very easy to act the role of a politician on screen,” said the veteran actor of Ankur. “But only after I got into politics I realized how difficult it is to be a politician.''
You cannot do what you want in politics. I failed to make an impact as we were not allowed to work the way we wished.
--Anant Nag, veteran actor
So why did he go there? Anant Nag had always been politically conscious. The wars of 1962, 1965 and 1972 affected him deeply and he went on to be a part of the Jayaprakash Narayan movement. He went on to become an MLC, an MLA and then a minister in the Janata Party government.
Having been an intense actor in the parallel cinema, he missed acting while in the government. Chief minister Patel told him to stop acting as long as he was in power. "That was when I realized how badly I missed cinema," the actor said.
Asked why Kannada film-makers don’t make movies on political issues, Anant Nag said: "Of the 6.5 crore Kannadigas, only 1.25 crore watch movies and the rest prefer reading, which isn't the case with other languages like Telugu where, nearly 10 crore out of 12 crore watch movies."
Anant Nag grew up in a mutt at Bhatkal and moved to Bombay in 1961. He had no dreams of being an actor.
"I had been good at studies in primary school but all that changed after I went to Bombay. I failed 10th standard. So as I had the NCC and ACC certificates I tried to get into the services. The Air Force rejected me for my poor eyesight and the army rejected me for being underweight," he revealed as the audience broke into laughter.
“With life heading nowhere, I got an offer to act in plays, and then from theatre I jumped to movies and realized that if I can be good at anything at al, then it must be acting,” Anant Nag said.