Sharib Hashmi is just a few films old in the industry but has certainly come a long way. From playing Shah Rukh Khan`s pal in `Jab Tak Hai Jaan` to playing the lead in a critically acclaimed movie like `Filmistaan`, the actor has done it all.
In an exclusive interview with Parul Sabherwal, Sharib talks about his journey from being an Assistant Director to a lead actor and about his upcoming projects.
How did you get your first break? Tell us something about your career?
I started as an assistant director with a film called ‘Hum Tumpe Marte Hain’. After the film I started writing for television. I auditioned for my first film ‘Haal E Dil’ during this time. It was my first ever audition and I got selected. Then I also did a small scene in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. I quit my job in 2008 and for the next three years nothing substantial happened. During that period I acted in a short film titled ‘Mehrooni’ directed by Faraz Ali. YRF’s Casting director Shanoo Sharma saw it and called me for an audition and that’s how I got ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’.Around the same time, I was helping Nitin Kakkar with the dialogues of ‘Filmistaan’. And Nitin had once said that I suited the part of Sunny Arora and he would like to cast me in that role. I thought once he finds a producer, he’s going to look for a known face; but he did keep his word. He auditioned me for Sunny Arora and fortunately I got selected.
What made you say yes for `Filmistaan`?
Who was I to say yes to ‘Filmistaan’? I was fortunate enough that I got ‘Filmistaan’ and I will always be thankful to God and the director for giving me an opportunity to play such a beautiful character, Sunny Arora. If Nitin had narrated this to any other actor, I don’t think he would have refused the offer.
You have also penned the dialouges of the film. How was the experience?
The writing process of ‘Filmistaan’ was beautiful. Nitin’s screenplay was so detailed that I didn’t have to work too hard on the dialogues. And after we finished writing the dialogues, we sat with the entire cast and did several rounds of reading with them which enhanced the dialogues even further.
How much does Sharib Hashmi resemble Sunny Arora of `Filmistaan`?
Except for the fact that I also started as an assistant director and that I’m a big movie buff in real life like Sunny, there’s nothing in common between Sunny Arora and Sharib Hashmi. My love for cinema is not restricted to Bollywood. I am a film lover. I like to see films in all languages and from all regions and countries. And yes, I also entertain my friends just like Sunny Arora entertains the village kids by mimicking Bollywood actors.
Filmistan released on the same day as Holiday. Were you nervous to compete with Akshay Kumar?
Yes, I was nervous. After all Akshay Kumar is one of the biggest superstars of our times and AR Murugadoss was directing his second Hindi film after ‘Ghajini’. Plus Sonakshi Sinha was also there in the film. On the other hand, we were a bunch of nobodys. But despite of getting pitted against such a huge film, if ‘Filmistaan’ managed to sail through, it was only because of the strong content.
From being a character actor to a film lead and the film being successful and appreciated by the critics, have better avenues opened up for you?
Yes better avenues have opened up for me. I’m being offered good substantial roles. A whole new lot of people have noticed my work. The critics, audience and people from the industry have all praised my work and I’m really thankful to all of them for encouraging me so much. Those words of praise keep me going.
How was the experience of working with king Khan in `Jab Tak Hai Jaan`?
It was a wonderful experience working with King Khan. Never for a moment did he make me feel that I was working with a superstar. He was very cooperative during the shoot and very jovial off the sets. Would love to work with him again.
Who is your dream director/filmmaker?
There are so many... To name a few Raj Kumar Hirani, Dibakar Bannerjee, Shimit Ameen, Anurag Kashyap.
If any of the classics are remade, which character would you like to play?
I would love to play the title role of ‘Anand’ and Anant Velankar played by Om Puri in ‘Ardhsatya’.
Tell us something about your future projects. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
I’m doing a project with Nikhil Advani which I am very kicked about. There are a couple more projects, which I wouldn’t like to divulge at the moment. Let the right time come. I don’t plan too far ahead. I had not expected this to happen to my life. Whatever future holds for me, whatever God has planned for me, I will accept it whole heartedly.
A message for your fans.
Thanks for all the love and support you have shown for a small film like ‘Filmistaan’. Love you all.