“No space for competition with others when you compete with self,” says Actor Sharib Hashmi

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This Mumbai-based self-made actor, Sharib Hashmi, popularly known for his stint in The Family Man series, now probably needs no introduction. Apart from being a great actor, he is also writer, producer and director.

He will now be seen in “The Great Indian Murder”, a crime thriller based on Vikas Swarup’s bestseller Six Suspects.

In an exclusive conversation with Mumbai Live, Sharib Hashmi talks about his roller-coaster journey in the film industry, challenging roles and upcoming projects. Here are the excerpts:

Could you walk us through your journey?

My journey has been a roller-coaster ride. My father wanted me to pursue acting after I finished my degree in Economics. While my parents were of the impression that I am good-looking, I had no such delusions. Also, even for character roles, I felt my height would be a problem. I just naively gave up on my dream without pursuing it. I got my first job as an Assistant Director to Nabh Kumar Raju for the film Hum Tumpe Marte Hai in 1998.

It was something that taught me a lot about the art of filmmaking. I have no formal training in acting or direction, so I learned everything on the sets. And the first film I worked on had stellar actors like Govinda, Urmila Matondkar, Dimple Kapadia, and Paresh Rawal. For a film buff like me, it was a dream come true. I wanted to become a director. I then went on to become a writer and wrote VJ links for MTV. I kept at it and it was in 2007 that I landed a role in Slumdog Millionaire. I then wanted to follow my passion for acting for real. I gave hundreds of auditions but was rejected in many, leaving me disheartened but I kept trying. After giving an audition for Jab Tak Hai Jaan, I got the role of Zain, and at the same time, I bagged a role in Filmistaan. Things changed for me and after this, I didn’t look back since then and went on to do many other roles. I finally landed the role of JK Talpade in The Family Man. So my journey was never a cakewalk. 

You’ve been applauded by fans and critics for your stint in The Family Man. How does it feel to attain this immense acclamation despite having ace actor Manoj Bajpayee?

The first season had set a benchmark for itself and it was an advantage for all of us. Personally, for season one I received a lot of love but this time the reaction has been crazy. This has happened for the first time in my career. I was on cloud nine. Things were out of control. I didn’t expect it to surpass my expectations and I was feeling very emotional about it. Everyone wants a best friend in their life and they see that best friend in JK. I feel that’s the biggest connection. The unconditional bond between JK and Srikant is something people loved. 

Can you please elaborate on your role and character in the upcoming series – The Great Indian Murder?

When I got a call from the casting director Mukesh Chhabra regarding this web series, it was the character and the engaging storyline which made me sign the project. I just loved the backdrop of the character and collaborating with one of the finest filmmakers, Tigmanshu Dhulia is one in a lifetime opportunity. I was looking forward to this collaboration and finally I got this chance. The show is about a mystery which is inspired from a novel titled Six Suspect, the fans will get to see a lot of drama and thrill in this web series. And I will be seen playing a tribal welfare officer who is coming from Andaman in the search of a Tribal Murthy, and how his search is connected to the main character that is murdered in the show will be interesting to see.

How did you prepare for this role?

I didn’t conduct much research because the script had the most of the research and material. It was merely a part of my own process. The script that was provided to me had a lot of information about the character and what it takes to prepare for a part. So all I had to do was prepare as an actor to do the job right, and that was it.

Every industry, including the entertainment industry, is full of competition; what do you do to stand out amidst competition?

Every business, every job has its own set of challenges and competitions, and those who work hard know how to deal with them on a daily basis. I do not put myself under pressure or don’t really keep challenging myself to compete with others because what i think is I am competition to myself. And talking about other actors in the industry, each actor has a different appearance and personality, each of them are unique. So, there is no space for competition with others when you compete with yourself. 

Which has been one of the most challenging roles and why?

One of my recent offerings was the ZEE5 film Darbaan, where I played Raicharan. Directed by Bipin Nadkarni, the film was based on the story Khokababur Pratyabartan written by Rabindranath Tagore. Raicharan has been the most challenging role of my career. I was intimidated when I read the script, and a little reluctant because I wasn’t sure if I could pull this off. That was a role that required preparation and some amount of technique.

What are some projects you have in store for your fans to look forward to this year?

Dhakad, which stars Kangana Ranaut and Arjul Rampal, is followed by Sharma Ji Ki Bet, Mission Majnu, and Vikram Veda, which stars Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan, and Radhika Apte, and I am looking forward to the second schedule of this film. I really enjoyed shooting for Vikram Veda. Also, I am personally very excited about this one because my appearance is completely unusual, so I am eagerly awaiting the release of this project as soon as possible. There is also an independent film Shiv Shastri Balboa that stars Anupam Kher and Neena Gupta, in which again I am playing different role.



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