Caribbean music maestro, Machel Montano, is many things and now he can add actor to that list.
The Trinidadian soca king recently made his film debut, starring in the Bollywood love story, Bazodee, which was filled with plenty of Caribbean rhythm, compliments of Machel himself.
In Barbados this week to receive an honorary award from the Barbados Independent Film Festival, Monk Monte, as Machel is also known, sat down with reporters to discuss his feelings on the astounding response to the film locally and internationally.
The executive producer of the 2016 musical shared with Bajan Vibes his reluctance to enter into this unchartered territory at 42 years of age.
“Me being who I am, getting into acting so late into a music career, I didn’t want to go there and mess up – I had no acting lessons,” Machel said. “When I decided to take acting lessons, the director told me I didn’t need it.”
Taking on the lead role was a daunting task for a man who is accustomed to performing in front of thousands of people. Nevertheless, the writers persuaded Monk to make use of his acting chops and incorporate his music in the production.
“The writers came to me and said they were fans of my music and wanted to do a movie and involve my music and for me to play a leading role.
“I mean I was sold at involving my music but when they said we want you to play a leading role, immediately I went into panic mode and wondered how I would be able to make it right,” he revealed.
Over 200 theatres in North America and throughout the Caribbean got to see the acting novice deliver an emotional and electric representation of Lee de Leon.
According to Machel, the performance was well received by viewers and the team is expected to tour London and Europe in the upcoming weeks.
“I really enjoyed seeing so many people on social media saying they enjoyed the movie and they liked the story. So many people saying it was a movie they could go out and watch it with their kids,” he said.
However, Bazodee is not the end for the Monk. In fact, his involvement in the musical led to the creation of Monk Pictures, a dream that started ten years ago.
Delving a bit into his film company, Machel said: “It’s been a wonderful run and a beautiful experience to jump into the film business this way . . .”
He added: “When it finally came to fruition to see the size and scale of what was going on in front of me in our little island, really made me feel connected deeply to see the amount of young talented people from our country that were able to fill in the spots and make the movie a great one”.
“I think the feedback reflected in our premiere. We had it at the Ply Station Theatre in Los Angles, it was like a fete in the theatre. I never got up and saw people wanting to get up and wine during the movie”.