He enthralled the audience with his portrayal of Major Khalaf Bin Zayd in AIRLIFT and his terrific performance in FILMISTAAN and FIRAAQ. Yes we are talking about Inaamulhaq who was last seen in JOLLY LLB 2.
The actor is back to wow the audience with his upcoming film LUCKNOW CENTRAL that will hit the screens this week. In an exclusive interview with Glamsham, Inaamulhaq talks about his character in LUCKNOW CENTRAL and why the release of QAIDI BAND (whose storyline is similar to LUCKNOW CENTRAL) before his film is not going to affect the fate of his film.
Here are the excerpts:
INAAMULHAQ IN A STILL FROM LUCKNOW CENTRAL
How were you finalized for the role of Dikkat Ansari who is one of the five inmates in LUCKNOW CENTRAL?
There’s a saying that ‘paise ko paisa chunta hai’ which is generally used in the context of business where in you get what you have invested. In my case I can say that ‘mere kaam se mera kaam aata hai’ (I get projects because of the work I have done) FILMISTAAN’s director watched my film FIRAAQ so he casted me in his film. Likewise when I was working in AIRLIFT which was produced by Nikkhil Advani, they noticed my work as an actor as well as a person that’s why they considered me for the role of Dikkat Ansari. Ranjit Tiwari called me and showed me the script I loved it and I immediately agreed because for me script is the deciding factor for any given project. I have refused several films previously because of their poor scripts. Luckily LUCKNOW CENTRAL’s script was very good so I took up this film.
Tell us about your character Dikkat Ansari in LUCKNOW CENTRAL and how did you prepare for it?
LUCKNOW CENTRAL is basically a story of five inmates and I am playing one of these five inmates whose name is Dikkat Ansari. So how all these five inmates become a part of Kishen Girhotra’s (Farhan Akhtar) band and how all of them get emotionally connected and what happens next is what you will come to know once the film releases. Right now all I can say that Dikkat is one of the prominent characters whose journey you will get to see once the film hits the theatre. Also he got his name Dikkat (trouble) because he has a knack of causing trouble to others.
In terms of my preparation for this role I can say that generally when you read a script you get 20-30 percent idea regarding your character but you want 100% and in order to do that you do two things one is to try to recollect any experience of having met such person or been through what he is going through. This helps you answer many questions and after that if anything is left then it is your imagination power. I have a very different process of playing my characters. Sometimes its method acting while other times it’s spontaneous. For Dikkat Ansari I used a combination of both the methods. That’s why I didn’t feel the need of meeting a real jail inmate because ‘jail inmate’ is a tag that he has got but ultimately he is human being so all you have to do is built his personality. The process was very interesting as both our writer and director had done an immense research while writing the script so that helped a lot.
'No one can change the destiny of QAIDI BAND or LUCKNOW CENTRAL'
Do you think music has the power to reform people?
Yes. Not only music but any art form can change your point of view of seeing things. And most importantly literature can do a wonderful job when it comes to changing a person.
How was your experience of working with power house performers like Farhan Akhtar, Gippy Grewal, Deepak Dobriyal and Rajesh Sharma in this film?
So far luckily all my directors and co-actors have been people full of positive energy. I am using the term people for them because they are humans first and then actors. For me being surrounded by people of positive energy and good human beings is very important and what kind of actor they are that’s secondary for me. Because if there’s a good actor but he/she is spreading negativity on the sets or trying to run down his co-actors then you will never be able to gel with them. So luckily all my co-stars in LUCKNOW CENTRAL are great and open hearted people.
If you have to describe Farhan Akhtar in one word, that would be?
Describing someone in one word is very difficult because I may miss out on various aspect of that person. I can describe him in one sentence that he is a very focused and grounded person. He is very focused on his work and his stardom never comes in way of others when you are working with him. He has a very friendly behaviour and we used to have lot of fun on the sets, ‘gappe ladate the filmon ke idhar ki udhar ki’ so he was totally involved as an actor. Though he is also known as a director, producer, writer but in this film he focused only on his acting. He would never interfere in anything would reach the sets when his call would come and after giving his shots he would come back and then again we would all sit together and chit-chat. He knows that what his job is at a given point of time and he focuses only on that thing.
There were reports of Farhan ghost directing this film. How much is this true?
All such rumours are fake as I am a witness who was actually present on the set. We would not even know what was going on the set as in our free time we all would sit together and Farhan would share his immense knowledge of films and Rajesh Sharma sir is like film’s encyclopedia so we all would be discussing films so this was the kind of environment we had on our film’s set. So only when we were told that the shot is ready we would go to shoot it. So there was never such a moment that Farhan interfered in the making of this film.
What are your expectations from this film?
I always have very high expectations from myself. By the grace of Allah! all my works have done more than my expectations and have received great response so this time too I am hoping for the same. I always make sure that I have given my best and the film is made well so now how my film is received that’s secondary because I keep a high expectation only while doing a film and not after the film is ready. Post completing a film I just keep myself positive because most of the time while making only you get to know if your work is good or bad. ‘Aadmi apna judge khud hota hai usko pata hai usne kya kiya hai’.
Ranjit Tiwari is making his debut as a director with this film. How was it working with him?
It didn’t feel like it was his first film because he has assisted Nikkhil sir since so long. So you can actually see his experience in the way he does his work. He has the confidence and has the clarity as he knows what he wants. When you know what you want then there’s no confusion at all regarding anything. Ranjit is a very sorted guy with lots of positive energy.
'In order to be a good actor it’s necessary to be a good person first'
LUCKNOW CENTRAL and QAIDI BAND seem to have quiet similar storylines. Now that QAIDI BAND has already released so do you feel that will affect your film’s fate?
No, because according to me the word fate you have used is so strong as it means that things are already pre-written and it can’t be changed by any force any power or anything. So when we talk about destiny it means that it is fixed and nobody can change it. Now whether it’s the coincidence or anything else behind both the films having same storyline I don’t know. That film came and saw its destiny and now our film is releasing and it will face its destiny. So I think neither we can affect them nor they can affect us. They did their job and got their fruits we are doing ours and will get what we deserve.
But how is it possible that two big banners end up making film on same subject simultaneously?
See if we are talking about idea then there can be coincidence because the same idea can be thought by two different people. This story is already in the public domain as there was news regarding how competitions are being arranged for band of Lucknow Central inmates. So it’s not like only Ranjit Tiwari read that piece of news and nobody else did. Talking about how both these banners ended up making a film on similar story at the same time for that you will have to ask this question to the makers of QAIDI BAND as they made that film first saw its fate too so they would be better people to answer this question.
Give us one reason people should watch this film
The one reason would be only that this is a good film and I am not saying this because I am in it. I am saying this with 100% of my conviction that people should watch good cinema. It is different from routine and typical Bollywood film. And it’s not like this is not a commercial cinema because it is but with some added value. ‘Main itna hi keh sakta hoon maza na aaye toh paise wapis’ (laughs)(says jokingly that if people didn’t enjoy watching this film their money will be returned)
Tell us about your upcoming projects
After LUCKNOW CENTRAL I will be doing Kapil Sharma’s FIRANGI. Most probably it should be out by November but I am not sure about it. It is also a nice film where you will be seeing me in a different character. Also when I say it’s a good film then I am personally taking the guarantee that it is really a good film because after declining several scripts I chose selected ones which are actually good. So far my conviction has always proved right with my previous films and it’s my gut conviction that LUCKNOW CENTRAL too is going to be a great film.
Is FIRANGI an out and out comedy film?
No it’s a period drama set in 1920. Whenever we talk about period films especially set in (1940s-50s) we always think of them on serious note thinking these film must be either based on Independence era or some sort of revolution. See when these revolutions were happening even then people must be laughing or falling in love. So our film FIRANGI highlights these aspects of that era. FIRANGI has a nice light hearted story which is set in 1920. Though we do have reference to Independence struggle but all those things are in the back drop and on a primary note it’s a light hearted love story.