Doobara: Saqib Saleem locked himself up in a room, stayed in a juvenile home

Updated on Jun 17, 2017 11:25 AM IST

Actor Saqib Saleem, who is all set to play brother to his real-life sister Huma Qureshi in Doobara, talks about his preparations for the film, Huma Qureshi and more. Doobara is the official remake of Hollywood hit film Occulus.

Saqib Saleem plays the lead role in Doobara See Your Evil, an official remake of Occulus.
Saqib Saleem plays the lead role in Doobara See Your Evil, an official remake of Occulus.
New Delhi, Sweta Kaushal, Hindustan Times | By

Bollywood actor Saqib Saleem has teamed up with his real-life sister to play her onscreen-brother for Doobara See Your Evil. Directed by Prawaal Raman, Doobara is an official adaptation of the Hollywood horror thriller, Oculus. Dobaara is slated to release on June 2.

Excerpts from an exclusive interview with the Mere Dad Ki Maruti actor.

Q. Why did you choose Doobara to work with Huma?
I had really, really enjoyed Occulus when it released. Huma and I had been thinking of doing a film together but never got the right script. With Doobara, we had a script where both the brother and sister had great parts, so we decided to take it up.

Q. How easy was it to play siblings onscreen?
I wanted to treat Huma as any other actor so it was quite difficult. It was tough to dissociate with her as a real sister and act with her in front of the camera. But after a few days, it became easy as we started using our real-life camaraderie to improvise things and fed off each others’ energies a lot.

Saqib in a still from Doobara See Your Evil.
Saqib in a still from Doobara See Your Evil.

Q. Do you believe in ghosts or supernatural elements?
I don’t believe in ghosts or supernatural elements, only because I haven’t had any such experiences. I can only believe in things that happen to me. I don’t believe in hearsay.

Q. How did you prepare for the role?
We had a month-long workshop in Delhi with theatre actor and trainer NK Sharma. I also spent some time at Prayas, a juvenile home, to understand what these people go through after having committed crimes at such a young age. It was very important for me to understand their psyche. I also locked myself up for a day just to understand how would I react in isolation.

Saqib Saleem and Huma Qureshi pose during a promotional event for Doobara.
Saqib Saleem and Huma Qureshi pose during a promotional event for Doobara.

Q. How many times did you watch Occulus?
I watched it when the film was released but decided not to watch it again once the film was offered to me. I wanted this to be my own character. If I watched Occulus too many times, I would end up doing what has already been done.I wanted to have my own graph with this character.

Q. Why should people watch Doobara?
This is perhaps the first time real-life siblings are playing onscreen siblings. Besides that, it has got really interesting actors -- Lisa Ray and Adil Hussain, among others. We are not resorting to gimmicks and we don’t have random songs in the film. We don’t have ghosts with bad make-up or anything. We just want to genuinely spook people. And the international producers of Occulus have produced Doobara so the quality is good and I hope people will enjoy it.

Q. How was it like on sets, with your sister around?
You know, people think horror film sets are full of such incidents and stuff. But it is like any other film set.Before “action” and after “cut”, we are all cracking jokes and having fun. With Huma around, it was even better as we share a good bond.

Q. Do you believe the audience will receive a horror film with the kind of excitement that a normal commercial film generates?
I hope they will. I don’t see films as different genres or anything. At the end of the day, a film’s story and characters work, the genre doesn’t really matter. I hope the film gets the love we expect.

Q. Name your favourite horror film
I really enjoyed Occculus and in India, Ram Gopal Varma’s Raat is my favourite horror film.

Q. What are you working on currently?
I am working on a Vashu Bhagnani film with Taapsee Pannu. It is a fun, light film and should be out by this year’s end.

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