Imran Zahid, Mahesh Bhatt's latest discovery, surprises you in more than one way. First, he's not a regular newcomer who's bitten by the 'ambition' bug; he wants to rather fly very very slow with the support of his mentor Mahesh Bhatt. Second he's still based in Delhi, despite having reportedly bagged two big Bollywood films; and third he has a composure of a veteran who's been there and seen it all.
The soon-to-be actor, who was active in theatre since his school time always cherished the dream of pursuing acting, but preserved it neatly in his heart. "I could never imagine myself walking to a producer's office for a film role. I was very clear in my mind, that I won't go beg for roles."
Chandrashekhar, the inspiration
That's probably why Imran, whose face-cut appears similar to heartthrob Shah Rukh Khan, is still heading Take One School of Mass Communication, waiting for his debut film Chandu to go on the floors. Chandu, a movie based on slain JNU leader Chandrashekhar's life, is a project, which is very close to Imran's heart. "His persona inspires me. He was such a simple man, yet with a powerful aura. He was dedicated to his cause, and that's what brought me closer to his personality. I had heard a lot about him during my university days."
Imran also went to Siwan (Chandrashekhar's birth place) to get into the skin of his character. He also interacted with people close to him. Once the film goes on the floors, Imran would undergo a complete transformation - he will grow a beard and lose weight.
Taking about the murder of student leader Chandrashekhar, Imran says, "While cases like Jessica Lal and Priyadarshini Mattoo get media coverage, I'm surprised how this case went away from the public memory. Chandrashekhar commanded so much respect from the student community, and there was a mass upsurge when he was shot (1997). It's strange that people don't remember the case now, forget about the justice".
Imran thinks that people should dare to dream, and that's how they come true.
"That's what dreams are all about. People should dream, as they do come true. The general perception in Bollywood is that only star kids walk away with meaty roles. But there are also people like me, who get substantial roles without any film background."'Murder' dilemma
Meanwhile, the Delhi University alumnus, who graduated from Hindu college, is in a dilemma. He's yet to decide his debut vehicle. While Chandu is an author-backed role, he's also being considered for Murder-2 for a gray character. Murder-2 will be released first, and would go on the floors next month. Chandu, which is still in scripting stage, would go on the floors January-February. "It's now up to Bhatt sahab (Mahesh Bhatt) to decide whether Chandu would be my launch vehicle, or Murder-2, where I'm being considered for a gray character."
On mentor Mahesh Bhatt
For Imran, Mahesh Bhatt is a living legend. How he met him is another interesting story! He met Mahesh Bhatt several years ago in Dubai at a media workship, where he was a chief guest. The maverick filmmaker had remarked at that time, "Tu to hero jaisa dikhta hai." The bond grew only stronger with time. And when the time and script was right, Imran was roped in for his big Bollywood debut.
Skin, show? No problem
Quiz him about doing intimate scenes in his future films, the actor answers without batting an eyelid. "If portraying Chandu requires me to grow a beard and lose weight, I can't say no to it. Similarly, if a role demands me to do intimate scenes, I will do them." Point taken.