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“Sardar”Simarjeet Singh Nagra Makes It Big In Malayalam Film

The actor says it was his turban that landed him the role.

CHENNAI – Simarjeet Singh Nagra, a turbaned Sikh actor from Mohali, Punjab has recently debuted in Malayalam action-drama film, Kammara Sambhavam, as a parallel lead with Malayalam actor Dileep, and Tamil star and Rang De Basanti fame Siddharth. The film is directed by Rathish Ambat and written by Murali Gopy. The actor talks about the film, his experience and more:

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Being a turbaned Sikh, how was the experience of working in a Malayalam movie?

Being a turbaned Sikh, it was quite surprising to be working in a Malayalam film. But Malayalam cinema is very much concept-oriented. The film demanded a Sikh actor for the role. Scriptwriter Murali Gopy told me that he has huge respect for Sikhs, so he wanted a Sikh character in the film. And then, director Rathish Ambat wanted a real Sardarji to play the character. I was treated with a lot of love and respect. And it was my turban that landed me this role.

The movie, Kammara Sambhavam, has some big names in the south Indian film industry, including Dileep, Siddharth. How was it to share screen space with them?

Dileep is a Malayalam star and had been in the industry for over 25 years now. Similarly, Siddharth is a Tamil star and is working since past 15 years, and has done Bollywood films as well. We did the shooting together for over 50 days in 13 different locations in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Both are really humble and well experienced and so, I got to learn a lot from them.

What all preparations did you do for the film?

The director found my character exactly like the person that I am in real life. So, I did not have to do much to get into character. But as it is an action film, I took a few basic action scene classes and horse riding lessons.

Tell us about your character in the film.

My character’s name is Satnam Singh. Set against the backdrop of World War II, the film spans over three different phases of life. So, I have three different looks in the film. In the first half, I was given a period drama character’s look, from the 1940s. In the second half, it’s a modern look. Also, there’s a war sequence in which I was given a World War II soldier’s look. Satnam Singh is a strong character and nothing like the usual stereotyped turbaned Sikhs showed in films.

From a civil engineer to a lecturer to a manager and now an actor, how has the journey been?

Nothing ventured is nothing won. I have always had a passion for acting and modelling. But, I believe that one should finish education before perusing their passion. So, I did civil engineering, and while preparing for MBA admissions, took up a teaching job at my engineering college. After MBA, I started working as a manager. Four years back, after all that, I decided to risk the stable regular career I had and went to Mumbai to pursue a career in acting.

What are your upcoming projects?

I am in talks for another South Indian film and a Punjabi movie. Both are in the finalisation stage. I prefer choosing only those projects where Sikhs, turbaned or otherwise, are not stereotyped.

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