In the first look, actor Saqib Saleem looks like any other college student who is out to have a good time with friends. But, as he settles down to talk about his films, one can’t help but take note of the young man’s commitment to work. The actor, who was in Chandigarh to promote his film Mere Dad Ki Maruti (MDKM) along with co-actor Rhea Chakraborty on Thursday, comes clear about his two-film association with Bollywood — something that he insists is destined to go a long way.
About Chandigarh, where a major portion of Mere Dad Ki Maruti was shot, Saqib says, “I shot for a month in Chandigarh. In fact, I was here 10 days before the shoot commenced; that’s when I visited Tehal Singh’s Chicken and Pal Dhaba, to get a feel of the city. In fact, I was here to brush up my Punjabi and pick up Punjabi-youth traits. For the same, I also befriended a kada seller outside a gurdwara in Mumbai, and a series of chai-and-biscuits followed suit.”
Saqib then goes on to insist that he consciously picks diverse roles. “For me, money is not the criterion, since my father runs a successful business in Delhi. In fact, he wanted me to pursue MBA and join him in business, but acting was my calling. My first role, in Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge, was that of a college boy obsessed with Facebook. In MDKM, I play a typical Punjabi boy who loses his dad’s car.”
Saqib is currently under a three-film contract with Yash Raj Films (YRF). “I am reading scripts for the third film with YRF and am yet to choose one,” says the 24-year-old.
Saqib has, however, finished shooting for Bombay Talkies. “Bombay Talkies is a film with four short stories, directed by Karan Johar, Dibaker Banerjee, Anurag Kashyap and Zoya Akhtar. My story has been directed by Karan Johar, and I am acting with Rani Mukherjee and Randeep Hooda in the film.”
All that ‘jazz’
Petite and pretty Rhea Chakraborty believes that she was destined to be an actor. “I never thought I would be an actor; I was studying to be an engineer. But, after I won the MTV Teen Diva contest, I started VJing for MTV and got a call from the casting director of MDKM.
I gave the auditions and was selected after some rigorous rounds of auditioning,” says she. On preparing herself for the role of a Punjabi kudi, Rhea says, “I have friends and relatives in Ambala, because my dad, being in the army, was posted there. So, I turned to them for my training. I also stayed in Chandigarh for some time to prepare for my role of Jazzleen, which was a little over the top.” Rhea made her acting debut with Telugu film Tuneega Tuneega, and has already signed her second Bollywood film.