Born into a middle class family the acting keeda bit Sharib Hashmi at a very young age as he observed his journalist father interact with B-town celebs. Nitin Kakkar’s National Award winning FILMISTAN earned him critical praise for his acting and since then there has been no looking back.
In an exclusive interview, Sharib Hashmi talks about how the current phase in Bollywood is best for actors with unconventional or average looks, nepotism and he also clarifies the rumours regarding the similarity between his next PHULLU and Akshay Kumar’s PADMAN.
Read on to find out more:
When did this acting keeda bit you?
Oh it’s a long story actually yeh acting ka keeda kata toh bachpan me hi tha . As I grew up but unfortunately my height didn’t. I am a short guy (5’4 inches). My dad was film journalist so I used to tag along with him for filmy parties. Then I came to know that there’s a requirement of specific height even for the supporting actors in the movies and I couldn’t even fit in there. So very dejectedly I had given up my dream of becoming an actor. Then I started as an assistant director in 1998 in the film HUM TUM PE MARTE HAIN. Then I shifted to writing for television non-fiction. When I was working in MTV as a writer for MTV Bakra show at that time the urge for acting started to get stronger again. So I got incorporated in some spooky and funny shows.
But I was unable to take the decision of opting for acting as a full time work because I was married and had a kid. In the year 2008 I decided to leave my job and take up acting seriously. That’s how I started as an actor.
Your last film FILMISTAN was critically acclaimed and also bagged a National award. So tell us about one best thing that you gained out of this film.
My life is now spoken as in regard as pre FILMISTAN and post-FILMISTAN that’s how important this film is to me. I had never dreamt of my film bagging National awards or being a part of such a film ever. So that’s one thing and apart from that the kind of actors I got a chance to work with were all from NSD like Kumud Mishraji, Inaamulhaq I got to learn so much from them. After working with them I got to know that it’s always the film that’s important not your scene or your dialogue but the film that should matter the most.
Even after your last film being a hit why didn’t you sign up other projects? Or was it a deliberate decision to be choosy?
No it was not a deliberate decision, after FILMISTAN none of my film released except for BADMASHIYAN in which I had a small role. Actually I did few films in fact I have completed five films in three years and Inshallah! am praying that all these films get released very soon. In these years I have also written one film RAM SINGH CHARLIE along with my FILMISTAN director Nitin Kakkar and we have even co-produced it and most probably by the year end we will release it. It stars Kumud Mishra and Divya Dutta in pivotal roles.
"Star kids get more opportunity"
Can you tell us what’s the meaning of your next PHULLU and how did you bag it?
PHULLU is actually the name of my character in the film. In 2015 Abhishek Saxena who is the director of this film came to me with its script and I really liked it but it took some time for the project to take off. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the entire team of PHULLU.
Is the story line of PHULLU similar to Akshay Kumar’s PADMAN?
My film is not similar to PADMAN because this concept is of Dr. Anmol Kapoor ji whereas PADMAN is a biopic based on the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham. Ours is a fictional story in which the protagonist strives towards eradicating the lack of menstrual hygiene. The theme of
PHULLU and PADMAN might be same but that’s the only similarity between these two films. And there should be no comparison between PHULLU and PADMAN as their film is way bigger than our film. Our film is even ready while theirs is still being shot.
What’s your take on the prevalent nepotism in Bollywood?
It’s not like nepotism is prevalent only in Bollywood it’s there in every field. Jab Doctor ka beta Doctor banta hai toh koi kuch nahi bolta, Neta ka beta Neta banta hai toh koi kuch nahi bolta so if a Film star’s son becomes a film star then what is wrong in that?
But then isn’t it unfair when star kids gets more opportunity to prove themselves only on the basis of their parents’ name?
They may get more opportunity but they can sustain themselves only on the basis of their own talent. So I don’t think it’s unfair because it was not their choice to have been born in a star’s family. So even if they are getting more chances then the rest is only because of the hardwork that their parents had put in to earn that reputation. So if you look at this from this point then it’s not at all unfair.
What do you have to say about current lot of actors focusing more on their physiques and appearance rather on their acting skills?
I think slowly and slowly this trend is fading out as people have started noticing character-driven films. Irrfan Khan saab and Nawazuddin Saab are doing lead roles and they are doing really very great job. Film me jaisa character hota hai waise uski casting hoti hai aap kitna bhi acha dikho app kitna bhi bura dikho role aapko wahi milega jo aapki personality ko suit karta hai. So for different roles there are different actors of different personalities available. 10 years back I couldn’t even imagine of someone making a film with me but today people are actually making film with me so this current time is a golden period for actors with unconventional or average looks like me.
Are we going to see you only in content-driven films or are you open to masala films as well?
I am open to any kind of film because I love acting. The story has to be good now be it a masala, bland or diet film (laughs) all I care is that I get a chance to work with good people. Even if I have one single scene I would be happy being part of a good project.
"If PADOSAN is remade then I would love to do Mehmood’s role"
When did you get into theatre acting?
Generally, people first do theatre and then come into films, but in my case it was opposite. I started it during FILMISTAN when I met Gopal Dutt who was my co-star in FILMISTAN. He is very active in theatre. He has a theatre group called ‘Aarambh’ so during an interaction he told me that I am more of a theatre actor and I should start doing plays. When he was starting a new play he casted me in his play. And that’s how I went on to do 4-5 more plays for his group.
According to you what is more important in a given project-its director, its actors or the script?
It’s the script of course because one can end up making a bad film out of a good script but one can never make a good film out of a bad script! And even the director is equally important as he is the one who shapes up the entire film.
Tell us one classic film in whose remake you would like to work in?
There are many actually (laughs) If I get a chance to play Om Puri’s role in ARDH SATYA I will go mad. If PADOSAN is remade then I would love to do Mehmood’s role in it. Actually the list is endless.
Which directors do you aspire to work with?
Again there are many with whom I would love to work like Rajkumar Hirani ji, Anurag Kashyap, Imtiaz Ali saab, Tigmanshu Dhulia ji. Again the list is never ending.
What’s next after PHULLU?
Actually I am not allowed to talk about my next project right now I will reveal about them at right time.