“At 22, I wish I had done more solo travels,” says Arif Zakaria
Where were you career-wise?
I had enrolled into Government Law College and had also finished acting in a serial on Doordarshan. I knew that I loved acting but my career path seemed muddled then.
What was your bank balance then?
I had made some money from acting assignments on TV and theatre. I had a tiny personal minimum balance to my credit in HSBC bank.
What was your romantic life like?
I was in a reluctant (from my end), wry and confused association with a stewardess from East-West Airlines.
What was your equation with your family then?
My family consisted of my late father Ahmed Zakaria, mother Feroza Zakaria and three siblings: elder sister Shaheen Parkar, younger sister Effat Hassan and younger brother Asif. At age 22, siblings are sounding boards — supportive and non-competitive.
Were you a sharp dresser with a well-developed fashion sense?
My sense of style was terrible — my wardrobe comprised high-waisted pants, tight T-shirts with zippers, oversized sweatshirts and occasionally pleated pants. I was at the mercy of more fashionable friends and Fashion Street.
Your fitness quotient?
I played cricket and badminton and had started attending Talwalkar’s gym in Santa Cruz.
Which singers did you groove to?
Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi. Also, Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Michael Jackson.
Who were your acting idols?
I saw Shernaz Patel in the play Veronica’s Room and was blown away! On TV, I was impressed by Anita Kanwar in Buniyaad. And on film, the impression Kamal Haasan created in Nayakan lingered for a long time.
I also remember seeing My Left Foot at the American Centre, Mumbai, and being gobsmacked by Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance. And I was always intrigued by Charlie Chaplin’s amazing grasp over the film medium.
What was your most prized possession?
A scrapbook of RK Laxman’s cartoons.
Your biggest dream then?
To start a theatre company called Histrionics.
Any anecdote from that time which is stored away in your memory file?
A lady friend in Law College gave me a wooden plaque as a birthday gift. On the plaque was written: “Are you here with the problem or are you a part of the solution”?
If you had a chance to change one thing about yourself then, what would it be?
I would develop more courage. Also, I wish I had done more solo travels.
From HT Brunch, August 29, 2021
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