Nicholas Brown ”“ a man of many parts now plays for little audience

 By Neeru  Saluja

When it comes to diversity on Australian television,  Aussie-Indian  actor Nicholas Brown always  makes us proud.  From playing the lead role in the TV series  ”˜The Cooks’  in 2004, appearing on the popular TV series  Home and Away,  Packed to the Rafters, Underbelly and many more TV credits,  Nicholas  is  now selected as an ABC KIDS Play School  presenter.

As  he has returned back to Australia after making his foray  in Bollywood, the baddie from the film  Kites  has many aces up his sleeve. The NIDA graduate from Australia is not only an actor, but a writer, a singer, songwriter and screenwriter. In an exclusive interview with this handsome and multi-talented actor, we talk about his latest gig at Play School, his upcoming Bollywood films, theatre and discover his passion for writing children stories.

As a presenter for Play School, Nicholas has become the multicultural face for the young citizens of our country. And this  was something that Nicholas was always  keen on. “This is  actually  the fourth time I auditioned for Play  School.  I auditioned once when I was 21,  then  28 and then  three years ago. My agent  called me and I got lucky the fourth time. The timing was right as I’m a little older and wiser.

“I’m the first Indian man to be on Playschool which is a great honour. Obviously  there is no reference to my brown skin on the show but the fact that young kids will be seeing another brown face is so inspiring. When I was little I saw no brown faces on television and I hope this inspires others.  Play School  and the ABC have always welcomed diversity with open arms by having multicultural presenters. It’s important for kids to see this diversity”, tells  Nicholas.

Play School at ABC also gives Nicholas the time to pursue his other acting projects.  He is  shooting a role in the hospital series ”˜Harrow’  for ABC International and  shot a role in the comedy series ”˜The Let Down’.  He is also playing the role of cricketer Rahul  Dravid  in a Sydney Theatre Company play called Still Point Turning about the transgender writer and cricket commentator  Cate McGregor.  Side by side, his creative pen also keeps flowing, narrating Australian Indian stories. While he wrote and acted in his play ”˜Lighten Up’ last year, he recently wrote a play called  ”˜Tantra 2’. “It’s an Australian Indian play and a  love story where the protagonist travels back to India to connect with his theatrical ancestry. It’s quite a controversial story as it involves spirituality, religion and sex!” declares Nicholas.

The busy actor is also looking forward to his upcoming Bollywood films ”˜Prattichayya’, a  horror film  and ”˜Sedition’, a spy thriller.  And if you think that he is playing the villain again, you got it wrong. “For the first time in a Bollywood film, I’m playing the sweet good husband that gets tricked and betrayed. It’s based on Agatha’s Christie book ”˜The Mousetrap’. It was a nice change to play the good guy!” chuckles Nicholas.

His last major Bollywood film was ”˜Kites’ which suddenly brought him in the limelight in Bollywood for various reasons. “Kites  was  my first big Bollywood experience. It was nerve wracking and terrifying but a great role to sink my teeth into. It  was a great learning experience. I was very young, I was only 28 then. I was nervous before the film was released as all eyes were on me. My life had suddenly changed. I was partying with Bollywood celebrities, walking red carpets and being asked questions about  Hrithik  and Barbara. There was a media storm. There was a lot  of pressure for Kites to be  this  big crossover film. We had  lot of weight on our shoulders,” tells Nicholas.

While Kites created a storm with news on  Hrithik  and Barbara, Nicholas’ sister on screen  actress  Kangana Ranaut  is  spilling the beans on her alleged affair with actor  Hrithik  Roshan in explosive interviews. We had to ask Nicholas  his thoughts about it as he worked closely with both the actors during the shooting and promotion of the film. “I think  Kangana  is an incredibly brave actor and a courageous woman.  Hrithik  is a wonderful man, a great  father and    an amazing actor. He loved Suzanne very much when I first met him. They were childhood sweethearts and had been together for a long time. People change as they get older and sometimes things don’t work out. I respect them both for deciding to move on”, tells Nicholas.

Actor Nicholas was also one of the actors in the Aussie Indian film  UnIndian  which became the talk of the town two years ago. He had a great experience shooting the film in his hometown and acting with  a few friends.  “Tanishtha  is a superb actress. I have a lot of respect for the type of films she is doing – marvellous indie films.  Pallavi  Sharda  is one of my best friends and we love working together. We first met 8-9 years ago in Mumbai and have a common understanding as we started our career together in Mumbai and we both are Australian. We both have experienced large scale Indian films and independent films.  Anupam  Sharma  is always creating important, interesting content and Brett Lee is a legend,” says Nicholas.

Nicholas has also been  fortunate enough to work  both  in Australia and India  film industries. What difference do you see  and  what can both the industries learn from each other? “There is a lot of  spontaneity  in India and that’s why many things are fresh and original. In Australia it takes a lot of time to develop a script. While in India suddenly a film is shot even though the script is not ready.  When I’m in India, I always ask for a script and I get a ‘narration’ instead.  You’ll get the script on the day of the shoot often. While in Australia or America it will never happen like that. That’s what we can learn from  Bollywood  ”“ to be more spontaneous and take risks. Indians can perhaps learn to be more organised and ordered like in Australia.  Saying that, I love working in both the industries and can adapt to both styles.”

While Nicholas has been acting for many years, so also chasing his writing dream. “I get a lot of satisfaction from writing. As an actor, you’re often told what to do but as a writer you are the boss. Therefore, I am  writing two children books based on the Aussie Indian experience.  Everything that I create  celebrates diversity in one way or another.

“I have always worked towards creating a diverse industry. Things have really changed since I started my career.  With  artists like  Pallavi  Sharda,  Arka  Das, Kabir Singh, Sharon Johal, Bali Padda, Sheila Jayadev, Shakthi Sivanathan and Mithila Gupta  we are all now a small family.  The future is very bright for the upcoming Aussie Indian talent in this industry.”


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