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Saqib Saleem: I’ve seen Gurgaon evolve from a barren land into a bustling city

Bollywood actor Saqib Saleem went to college in Delhi and hung out with friends in the place now called Gurugram — he, in fact, learned driving on Manesar road. Saqib chats about his fond memories, including that midnight trip to make a fun evening last longer.

bollywood Updated: Jun 20, 2018 17:28 IST
Rishabh Suri
Rishabh Suri
Hindustan Times
Saqib Saleem,Race 3,Bollywood
Bollywood actor Saqib Saleem has a big hit with his latest release, Race 3.(Photo: Shivam Saxena/HT)

Bollywood actor Saqib Saleem now has a big hit to his name, with Race 3 making a splash at the box office. Just before the release of his film, on a visit to Gurugram, the actor shared with us his best memories of growing up in Delhi and hanging out with friends in what used to be called Gurgaon.

What’s widely known is that Saqib is a Delhi guy, having done his graduation from Hindu College, North Campus. But Gurugram was also a large part of his early youth. Talking about that time, an excited Saqib says, “There’s IFFCO Chowk here. I remember, we had our graduation night in college, and ek time ke baad, woh khatam ho jaati hai (and after some time, it ended). Uske saath bauhut saari cheezein bhi khatam ho jaati hain (And with that, many other things ended). All those things, you get at IFFCO Chowk (laughs). You should drive down there in the middle of the night — you get your ‘alcohol’ and have a great time with your friends.”

Visiting the glitzy Millennium City now, Saqib can’t help but compare how much Gurugram — or Gurgaon, as it is to him — has evolved. “I’ve seen it develop over the years, because I’ve grown up here,” says the actor. “There are all these tall buildings now. I’ve seen Gurgaon before and after the BPO (business process outsourcing aka call centre) culture. It has completely changed, and become a city.”

Saqib adds, “I remember, pehle yahaan gaadi akele chalane mein darr lagta tha (earlier, it was a bit scary to drive here alone), because it was all barren, there was nothing. I learned how to drive on Manesar road, so I remember everything with fondness. I’ve seen malls come up in front of me; I was still in Delhi then. When I come here today and see this bustling city, I feel very happy.”

Saqib rues the fact that he doesn’t get enough time to visit Gurugram and, of course, Delhi more often. “I don’t get the time to meet my parents, who’re here. Even today (when talking to HT), I’m here right now, and will fly back to Mumbai at night, and won’t be able to even meet them. But whenever I do go to Delhi, I love going to Hauz Khas, Vasant Vihar, Saket, and Khan Market. I also keep going to my college. All my childhood has been spent in Delhi, and I formed all my friendships here,” he signs off.

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First Published: Jun 20, 2018 17:27 IST