Saqib Saleem reveals what originally brought him to Mumbai, and no, it wasn’t acting in films

Hindustan Times | ByRishabh Suri, New Delhi
Feb 20, 2018 05:03 PM IST

Actor Saqib Saleem, who has acted in films such as Mere Dad Ki Maruti and Bombay Talkies, says that the struggle to become an actor was relatively easier for him than others.

Actor Saqib Saleem is happy with the current phase in his career, where he’s juggling projects such as Race 3 with Salman Khan in the lead, and Dil Juunglee set to release on March 9, 2018.

Actor Saqib Saleem will be next seen in Dil Juunglee, opposite Taapsee Pannu.
Actor Saqib Saleem will be next seen in Dil Juunglee, opposite Taapsee Pannu.

He hails from a non-film background — his family runs a restaurant business in Delhi, his elder sister Huma Qureshi ventured into the industry before him. When asked what made him take the acting route too, Saqib says, “I am an accidental actor. My first film [Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge; 2011] chose me, and landed at my doorstep; I’m not kidding! People talk about how they have gone to Mumbai, are there for ten years, and nothing’s happened. Some theatre people also say ‘Voh bahut achha actor hai, usne woh play kiya hai’ but in Mumbai, he’s been struggling for five or six years.”

Interestingly, the actor reveals that his reason for reaching Mumbai, the place to be if you want to get into Bollywood, was, “Love. I went to Mumbai for love, but it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. An advertisement fell into my lap, and then I got an offer for a film next. When I went in to give the audition, I realised that I had never acted in life; I had never faced a camera!”

The fact that his sister, Huma was emerging as a star then, helped Saqib to convince his parents. “Huma was already in Mumbai, and the younger ones always get it easy, because the older ones paved the way and had already fought the battle with the family,” says Saqib.

Casting couch stories have forever made the rounds in Bollywood, with strugglers accusing even big directors of demanding sexual favours in return for a role. Asked if this is indeed true, Saqib says, “I feel casting couch does exist, but I feel it’s mostly involving people who have no real work, and make fake promises. But it exists in every industry. In the corporate world, it’s a different kind of harassment... in schools, colleges too.”

Interact with the author on twitter/ @RishabhSuri02

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