Sharib Hashmi has found new fame and fortune playing the role of JK Talpade alongside Manoj Bajpayee in The Family Man. He was recently seen in Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story and Pagglait. Looking forward to the release of Dhaakad, Sharib has been around since quite some time as he started off as an Assitant Director and a writer with MTV before the acting bug found him.
In an exclusive interview with PeepingMoon.com, Sharib talks about his previous work, sharing screen space with Manoj, Arshad Warsi (in Asur) Kangana Ranaut (Dhaakad) and Pratik Gandhi (Scam 1992) and spills the beans on his future projects with his aim to direct a film soon.
Excerpts from the interview:
You took up acting pretty late in life after a stint in writing, can you tell us how you ventured into the arc lights?
Actually I started as an AD with a film called Hum Tum Pe Marte Hain that starred Govinda and Urmila Matondkar in the lead. That was my first job then I shifted to writing and I was writing for non-fiction shows and then I joined MTV for four years as an in-house writer; and they made me act some of the funny spoofy roles that I wrote about and the main show was MTV Bakra and I did a lot of that, which triggered my acting as I had completely buried my desire of acting and never wanted to take up it as a profession. However, doing a stint at MTV Bakra got my passion back and I did two films while on the job- Haal-e-Dil and Slumdog Millionaire and after doing these two some more interest in acting came back. Another film that proved a catalyst was Dhobi Ghat which I didn’t do (chuckles), I was finalized for the film but 15 days before the shoot things did not get materialized and Kiran Rao (director) told me that lookwise I was not going for the part. I have no misgivings about that but that really shook me and that was the time when I decided I will take up acting as a profession and I’ll make acting my bread-and-butter. I also saw Rock On! at that time and I got majorly influenced by it and I thought this is the time to make the switch, and here I am.
You’ve starred in some of the most loved web series like Asur, The Family Man and now Scam 1992. Could you tell us how was it sharing screenspace with Arshad Warsi, Manoj Bajpayee and Pratik Gandhi?
Working with Manoj Sir was like going to a film school every day and I have learnt a lot from him. I have found a friend, philosopher, guide, big brother all rolled into one in him. I would want to work with him again and again and again; I have shared most of my scenes in The Family Man with him so I have spent a lot of time on and off screen with him. And now we have shot for two seasons so a special bond has spun between us.
Arshad sir is a sweetheart; there is never a dull moment when he is around. He is always there cracking jokes, having a laugh and he is like the Shashi Kapoor character from films- he is that Dildaar character, whenever I see Arshad sir, Shashi Kapoor comes to my mind. I had a great time shooting Asur with him.
However, with Pratik I did not shoot much as I had most of my scenes with Shreya. I have another equation with her altogether, she has become family now; she talks more to my wife than me. But with Pratik I had worked together previously on a film called Mitron for which I wrote the dialogues. We used to meet now and then and then Scam happened, but instead of the shoots we met on Scam success party more. Now, we are doing a series together called Six Suspects and it is being directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia. We might not cross path in the series but we met on the sets, we are very good friends.
We all are waiting eagerly for The Family Man 2 to premiere, do tell us what to expect from your character JK Talpade in the second season?
The second season will definitely blow everyone’s mind. I have seen the series and it is bigger and better than the first one. The first time I was called to dub for some scenes and after watching those I couldn’t sleep at night, whatever I saw it just blew my mind and I cannot wait for it to stream and see people’s reaction over it. The scale is much bigger than the previous one and the cast is also bigger. Samantha Akkineni will be seen in this season, she is amazing she has done a great job. I will be seen a little more this season and my track is amazing in this season. I won’t divulge more but everyone will be very happy to see JK in The Family Man 2. This second season will be loved even more than the first one.
After Pagglait, you will be next seen in Kangana Ranaut starrer Dhaakad, how was the experience working with her?
I had a great time shooting with Kangana. I was a little apprehensive at first as people had told me that she is a bit troublesome to work with. But I had no issues at all; in fact, we shared a great chemistry on and off the sets. She is very professional and there were no problems at all. I enjoyed my role immensely of a Bhopali and I had a whale of time working on it. Dhaakad is special for me because it is directed by Razneesh Ghai who is an old friend. We worked together in MTV for four years and we go back a long time so when I saw him on the sets of such a big film, it was a very proud moment for me and I am extremely happy that I get to be a part of his first film.
You have a unique position in Bollywood, an outsider with inside access (since your father was a film journalist), what do you have to say about the nepotism debate?
Nepotism has been in existence since ages and will continue to do so. When a doctor’s son becomes a doctor, a politician’s son becomes a politician, a cricketer’s son also gets a chance so why not an actor? If tomorrow my son says I want to become an actor I will try my best to give him some push up. However, ultimately he will have to prove himself. I don’t have any problem with nepotism as everyone tries to do something for their family and loved ones. At the end of the day you only sustain yourself on your talent and merit.
There is a huge debate on OTT vs films, do you think web has the capacity to take over the big screen?
I don’t think OTT has the capability to take over the big screen. Right now there is a crisis because of the pandemic but once we have the solution for COVID and things are in control I don’t think people will not go to cinema halls. I feel people will throng to theatres because the experience is totally different of seeing things on a big screen, laughing and enjoying with other 200 people. The experience of the big screen is truly magical and that is not going anywhere. This time OTT is getting benefited but once things come back to normalcy both will co-exist. Maybe people will be a bit choosy in not going to see every film in theatre but they will definitely go to watch let’s say an Avengers or a Sooryavanshi.
Talking about web, has it changed anything in Bollywood?
I have not worked a lot in Bollywood so I cannot say about the changes. Except for Jab Tak Hai Jaan most of my films were all independent ones. However, things have changed a lot in Bollywood. Things have become more professional and more like corporate. OTT helped me revive my career after Filmistaan. There used to be a lot of glitz and glamour previously with massive mahurat shoots, premiere, but now nothing like this happens. Parties and all used to be on humongous and lavish scale but now people have become more organized and don’t spend money on a lot of trivial things. People have become a lot practical now and there is a lot of professionalism, so good and bad both.
Any plans for writing and directing a future feature film or web series? Would you star in it?
I definitely want to direct there is nothing in the pipeline. But I definitely want to direct in the next two years, I have a few stories in my mind which maybe I will work on during this lockdown. I will star in them also; I am Raj Kapoor (chuckles). I would love to act in my film and won’t shy away from casting myself if the role and character suits me.
What are your future projects? Could you give us the deets?
There is a film called Mission Majnu and Dhakkad, Six Suspects and The Incomplete Man that stars Freddy Daruwala and Warina Hussain. I have started shooting for another film but I can’t tell you anything about it. There is another big film on the cards. Right now I am very happy with the kind of projects coming my way and I am thankful to God, OTT and Bollywood for giving me such good opportunities.