The Family Man Series is the most viewed series on Amazon Prime video, while the performances of the cast has been praised by the audience and the critics alike. The second season has had splendid performances throughout, one such performance is for the character ‘Sajid’ played by the incredibly talented Shahab Ali.
The humble actor was kind enough to spare some time out of his busy schedule to talk to ClubbyTalks about his incredible experience working with Raj&DK, Manoj Bajpayee, Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Neeraj Madhav and a lots more about his passion for Acting and his humble beginnings.
Here is the conversation he had with Sushma Shaji over a phone call.
How are you feeling? How is life after the success of the Family Man season 2?
“ Life is much better, the kind of response I am getting from the audience and the critics is overwhelming, I am so happy that all my hard work has come to fruition. The current response is on another level, I did get a good response after season 1, however, this time the response for the character ‘Sajid’ is unbelievable, my inbox is full of it. I am so grateful and happy for that. “
Did you always want to become an Actor? How did it all start?
“ Yaar, my journey has been a long one, I started doing street plays in my College, I am from the Delhi University. While I was doing the street plays, I figured I had to go to Mumbai, but first I had to learn the craft. I then decided to try for any of the reputed Acting schools and luckily I got through for NSD.(National School of Drama). “
“ So, if you look at my acting background, it is mainly Theatre. I have been doing Theatre for almost 9 years now. It all started from NSD and I got the opportunity to be part of India’s biggest broadway-style musical shows: Zangoora – The Gypsy Prince, I played ‘Zangoora‘ for 3 Years, I also played ‘Salim’ in the musical play ‘Mughal -e- Azam‘ which is based on the 1960 movie, directed by K. Asif Sahab. That is how I started getting offers, I also auditioned at Mukesh Chabra audition company, they called me for this audition and luckily got through. “
Now that you have successfully made your mark in Mainstream Cinema, would you continue doing Theatre?
“ Yes of course, I can never leave Theatre you know, Theatre is my soul, it is my root, I don’t think I can never leave that. I am here because of the Theatre and the training I received from it. If people appreciate anything in my acting, the credit goes to my ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ play director Feroz Abbas Khan and my alma mater NSD. “
“ Naseer Sahab ( Naseeruddin Shah ) is my inspiration, I have always admired the fact that, even while he acted in films, he never left Theatre. I think Theatre is like a laboratory, where you continue doing your experiments you know. And, Cinema has a lot of uncertainty, you never know when you are out of work and when you are in one, Doing Theatres will always help you sharpen the craft and stay in it. I would like to do Theatre all my life. “
How was it working with Raj and DK?
“ It was a wonderful experience, I am a fan, to begin with, I had seen ‘Shor in the City‘ and ‘Go Goa Gone‘ and the latter is my favorite. I love realistic movies where the portrayal of the character is so real and less dramatized. “
“ It was a dream come true for me when I heard that it was directed by Raj and DK and Manoj Bajpayee is playing the lead role, I consider this opportunity to be a blessing. “
“ Working with them was a fantastic experience, they are so witty and well-read, like they do not work on a formula for a film, they keep exploring new dimensions and take new risks every time. I think the industry has only a handful of directors like that, and they know exactly what they want from their actors, they are not controlling, and at the same time, they do not let you lose either. It’s a balanced act with them. It was just great working with them. “
Do you follow South Indian Cinemas?
“ Of course, I do. However, there is an obvious language barrier for me, but with subtitles, I can watch any films. I have watched Malayalam, Tamil films. My favorite is ‘Visaranai‘, it’s a beautiful film. “
Tell us How it was working with Samantha?
“ When Raj and DK told me that, I was going to work with Samantha, I was blown away because I knew it was going to be huge. I had already seen her performance in ‘Super Deluxe‘, ‘Makkhi‘ and so many other movies of her. I was also aware that she was this big Star from Telugu, Tamil cinema. I was very excited and intrigued about working with her, and finally, when it happened it was a great experience, she is really professional and very focused. “
“ Acting with her was very smooth like we never rehearsed, we just went there and explored the characters, and that is one of the reasons that the Sajid and Raji scenes have come out so well. And, the audience loved that subtle romance between them. I think it is a great love story, given the circumstances of the character in the film, very rarely have I seen such a love story in films you know. “
Now coming to another excellent South Indian actor could you talk to us about ‘Neeraj Madhav‘ aka ‘Chettan’ in the first season.
“ Oh! Yeah. Neeraj Madhav is a great friend, we have such good bonding, it all started from the sets. Every time he comes to Mumbai or Delhi and if I happen to be there, he will always ask me to meet him and take him to explore the city. “
“ The first time I met him, I knew that he is an accomplished star from the Malayalam Industry, I was brand new on the sets it was the first season then. However, our wavelengths matched right away because the characters Moosa and Sajid are like brothers. It was a great experience working with him, our last fight scene was without any body double and we got wounded for real. Because we had such camaraderie and chemistry we could do it with much ease. “
How is the Entertainment Industry treating newcomers? Are there enough opportunities for aspiring Artists?
“ I think, with the OTT platforms, Artists like me are getting new and better opportunities now because there is a lot of content coming up. See there is no box office pressure here like you have in the Films. And, the Audience now are looking for content, I am always asked to suggest a good web series or film binge-watch, so people are looking for good content, good storytelling. “
“ As far as the opportunities are concerned, I think it is great, the Producers are looking for a new face, they trust new talents. I think it is a good change. it would not happen in Films, because there is so much Box office pressure, so usually they need bankable stars. “
If given a chance what role would you go for: Lead role, Villain role, Character role?
“ I will go for the Lead role any day because, I believe that with the kind of training I have, I can do justice to any character of any genre. I would need a Director to trust me with a lead role and I genuinely feel that I can prove myself. “
Do you think OTT platforms will replace or overturn the Movie Theatres?
“ Well, How about coexisting? I feel that they can coexist. Because going to a Movie Theatre and watching films is a different experience altogether you know. Watching a movie on the 70mm screen with friends is a different kind of fun. While watching movies on your own or binge-watching a web series is again a different experience, I would say we need both. “
What is that one Movie and web series that you would recommend everyone to watch?
“ I want everyone to watch ‘Gangs of Wasseypur 1 and 2‘ and amongst web series ‘Family Man 1 and 2‘. There are other series that I like, which I would like to recommend: ‘Delhi Crime‘, ‘Made in Heaven‘ and Narcos. “
Who are your Favourite Actors?
“ Well, Manoj Bajpayee is one, I think not many can do what he does. I am a huge fan of Late. Irfan Khan Sir, Nasserudhin Shah Sir, Om Puri Sir, and of course Sharukh Khan Sir. “
What would you advise the aspiring Actors out there?
“ Well, first off, I would like to say that, a lot of people think that anyone can do acting, that is not true. You have to learn the craft, you have to learn acting. Even, if you somehow make it to the Industry, you will be put into training. So why not invest time in learning, you know, ‘Start your journey with learning‘. “
“ It is not easy to make a place for yourself here, it is very difficult. You need to understand what you are signing up for before you start your journey. You will have to give your everything to succeed here, there will be so much rejection like, every day you will be told, that you are not good enough or you are not going to get this role. “
“ But, you need to be patient, you have to give it your best because that’s all you can do. You can’t control your life or anything outside, the only thing you can control is you, and, the amount of hard work you put in. “
Well clearly Shahab deserves all the appreciation and praise that he has been showered with across the audience, with his dedication, focus and humility he is bound to achieve all that he desires. We hop and pray that all he will continue entertaining and inspiring us with his portrayal and performances at both the Theatres and Cinemas.