Dissecting the outrage artist with Afran Nisho
*Contains spoilers for Hoichoi's latest web series, Kaiser.
One of the most difficult tasks for an actor is the idea of recreating private moments in public. As an actor, you're supposed to express emotions in front of a camera surrounded by a crew of hundreds. Melodrama is easy to pull off and that's why most of the conventionally popular superstars in our subcontinent hide beneath the cloak of excessive sentimentality to create an impersonation of a good actor.
However, recreating private moments such as conflict, anxiety or melancholy with dialogues while using silence as a subtext are the most difficult challenges an actor has to face.
Take, for example, a scene from the film Kapoor and Sons. The Kapoor parents, played by Rajat Kapoor and Ratna Pathak Shah, are fighting over Rajat's character spending Ratna's savings without consulting her. The scene will probably stand out as one of the most perfect portrayals of deshi household fights thanks to the genius of the two maestros at play. Rage, throughout the scene, is portrayed not just as sheer screaming, but rather with the gradual development of fury within the two characters.
The two characters don't just wait for their cues to throw dialogues. They truly listen to the other person and react accordingly. That's the most crucial part of conversations on camera – listening. Listening to your co-actor helps you time your dialogues and emotions properly, something Rajat Kapoor and Ratna Pathak Shah have mastered over the years.
This brings us to Kaiser. Directed by Tanim Noor and starring Afran Nisho in the titular role, Kaiser is a detective murder mystery based in Dhaka. Released on Hoichoi, the web series has gained much traction after its release and deservedly so.
Kaiser takes its time in developing its plot and puts much of its focus on the personal life of Kaiser, which helps the audience feel for the characters involved. Afran Nisho's stellar performance makes Kaiser stand out from its contemporaries. However, one particular scene in episode six made me realise the true strength of Afran Nisho.
Kaiser is forced to join the birthday party of his friend, Tanmoy where his ex-wife Shirin (played by Rikita Nandini Shimu) and her current husband Amlan, who's also Kaiser's childhood friend (played by Mostafizur Noor Imran) are invited as well. One thing leads to another and Kaiser and Amlan get involved in a fight.
Kaiser, still depressed about his divorce, blames it on Amlan for breaking his trust. The scene is filled with curses, outrage, and fury. Nisho and Imran don't just throw in dialogues. They truly react to each other's lines. I could see the two actors pouring their hearts out as it reminded me of violent household fights many of us grew up with.
Just at the end of the scene, still reluctant to act sensible and with each muscle of his face shaking in rage, a drop of tear rolls down Nisho's eyes as he listens to his friend. Vulnerability beneath outrage, craving for affection beneath his cloak of insensitivity all expressed through one subtle drop of tear.
While actors all over the subcontinent continue to play it safe by choosing morally superior roles, actors like Afran Nisho, Chanchal Chowdhury and Mosharraf Karim continue to choose morally grey and vulnerable characters and challenge our expectations of Bangladeshi actors.
Remind Ifti to be quieter at firstname.lastname@example.org