This week’s First of Many features Sharib Hashmi. In the 87th edition of our series, The Family Man actor talks about his first big Bollywood project, Yash Chopra’s Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012).
Actor Sharib Hashmi might be riding high on the mega success of his latest web show, The Family Man 2, but his journey has been a long and inspiring one. “Despite Filmistaan doing so well, I lost three years of my life because of no good work, until The Family Man happened,” he says.
Sharib started as a writer for shows on television, including a long run on MTV, where he also made appearances in MTV Bakra and Semi Girebaal. Despite good work in the initial phase of his career, Sharib had to wait for over five years until Raj and DK roped him as JK Talpade in The Family Man (2019). What followed was a chain of memorable projects like Asur, Scam 1992 and Darbaan, apart from Ram Singh Charlie as a co-writer.
Looking back at his journey, Sharib says, “I’m not affected by success today. I’ve seen good and bad phase, both. Time changes, you should not change.” Sharib went down the memory lane to reminiscence his first big acting project. Here’s what he shared:
What was your first acting project? How did the project come to you?
During my days at MTV, UTV and even Channel V, I did a variety of work, including a passing cameo in Slumdog Millionaire. That time I had no idea I’ll eventually become an actor. But after I quit my job and decided to take up acting full time, the first project that I did was Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Around 2010, I started going for auditions, but nothing happened for three years apart from one TVC and a short titled Mehruni. Since nothing could materialise I went back to my job, and within next 3-4 months I got a call from YRF’s casting director Shanoo Sharma. She saw Mehruni and called me for an audition for Jab Tak Hai Jaan. There were several rounds of auditions, first at their casting office in Juhu, then at YRF Studios. In the first three rounds, I enacted Vinay Pathak’s scenes from Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. From fourth round, I got Jab Tak Hai Jaan scenes. Then Shanoo called me late in the night and said I wasn’t selected, instead the part went to another new actor. I did feel sad and helpless, but at least I had my office job. After a few days I again got a call from YRF, this time from Yash Chopra’s assistant. He called me one more time and I wondered I had already auditioned five times, what’s going to change a sixth time. Nevertheless, I went, auditioned and returned to my office. Within half an hour, I got a call that I’ve been selected and they are shooting in two days. I couldn’t contain my happiness.
When I went to the YRF Studios for the first time, I saw Yash Chopra instructing his assistants, on the other side Anil Mehta was talking to some people. There were Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra too with their crew. I got shocked seeing such big people under the same roof, and that I was about to work with them. It was an unreal experience.
What do you remember of your first day on set?
My first day of shoot was also my first scene in the film when Samar (Shah Rukh Khan) removes the bedsheet from my character Zain’s face. I was rehearsing that scene with an assistant director. In one instance when the bedsheet got removed, I saw SRK himself standing there. He told me “Hi I’m Shah Rukh,” and I almost fainted. After the shoot and pack-up, Shah Rukh sir told me that he enjoyed working with me and I was a very good actor. Even Yash Chopra sir complimented me. He said, “Tu Punjab se hai kya?” I told him I’m born and brought up in Mumbai and I’m not even a Punjabi. He said I was doing very well. So my first day will always remain special and memorable.
Were you nervous?
I’m always nervous before the start of a shoot. But once it begins, I put all my nervous energy into the performance. The shoot was smooth. I shot for two days at YRF Studios, and remaining part was in London.
How was the rapport with your co-stars when you got to meet or work with them again later?
Since it was my first big project, I kept to myself most of the times. I joke a lot, so I had to be watchful of not speaking anything that hurt anyone. I became better friends with the crew of the film, the camera assistants, ADs, Akshat Kapil, Abhiraj Minawala who directed Loveyatri. I met SRK at the film’s premiere later. He met me very warmly. My wife is his huge fan so when she met him, she got extremely excited. She still says she remembers his perfume (laughs). I also met him when I received the Screen Award for Filmistaan (2014). SRK was hosting that segment and when my name got announced, he said Sharib is a very good actor and my friend. Just hearing that from him is so special.
Yash Chopra was such a huge personality but took care of everyone on set, from light man to actors. He is concerned about everyone. Once on my off day, we met in the lift and he asked me if I was having fun in London. Since it was cold there, he told me to take his jacket if I needed.
If given a chance to go back to your debut role, what would you like to change or do better?
So many places. Even if I watch what I shot for yesterday, I feel I can improve something. You grow everyday.
One film or role that inspired you to become an actor?
I love Anand. I’ve seen in multiple times and it had a lasting influence on me. My all time favourite are Kamal Haasan, Dharmendra and Aamir Khan. Post the release of Ek Duuje Ke Liye, I became such a fan of Kamal Haasan, that I started watching all his films on Doordarshan, be it in any language. I’m used to subtitles since that time, as compared to people cribbing over subtitles in The Family Man 2 today (laughs). The day I meet him, I’ll surely get nervous.