Saqib Saleem will be seen playing the reel brother of Huma Qureshi in Dobaara. The actor was last seen in Dishoom playing a cricketer. Saqib talks about his experience of working with his real sister Huma, films and why he doesn’t get jealous of his contemporaries.
How did you bag this film?
I always wanted to work with Huma but since we are siblings, we can only do certain kind of roles together. We were offered films together in the past, but it did not work as we did not like those scripts. I had seen the original film Oculus. So I thought it is a good role for us, because we are playing siblings and we both have interesting roles to play. It is film in the genre which has not been cracked completely in India.
Is it an advantage to work with your sister Huma?
I will say it helped me and it also didn’t help me. Sometimes you know a person too well so you have to unlearn few things about that person as an actor. It was difficult to maintain a balance because our characters are different than what we are in real life. There was a bit of conflict in my mind initially how to play it but eventually we did it. Huma and I didn't rehearse for the scenes. We are very different actors. We would only do dialogue rehearsal on the sets. We gave space to each other and didn’t give inputs. We were very clear from day one that we will behave as if we have met one another on the sets of this film. It was hard to behave like that because we are similar, we like same kind of food, films and so on.
Was there any situation when Huma and you had differences of opinion?
All the time and that is not only in the film but in real life too. That is how siblings are or friends are. We are more friends than siblings. We are like best buddies; we discuss everything under the sun. There is no filter between us. When you start treating your sibling like your friend then there are no issues like my sibling should not be aware of what I am doing. But our arguments were like conversations which we knew it was only for our better.
So who makes the first move to resolve an argument?
I don’t, because I don’t fight that much. When I fight, I only fight when I think it is not my fault. I am very clear about these things. I am not a fighter, I like to reason out and talk about it. But sometimes she does get little difficult.
How was it working with Prawaal Raman?
I have seen his films like Darna Mana Hai, Darna Zaroori Hai. He let us do what we wanted, he had his interpretation and how he wanted it. He was always open to ideas and suggestions. He believed that everything is collaborative efforts. So he wasn’t a tough task master at all.
Do you take opinions before signing a film?
Yes, I take everyone’s opinion who matter to me, they don’t necessarily have to be from the film world. They are the people who I rely on in real life. I take their advice but do whatever I want to do. But I like to listen to pros and cons and everybody’s story to make a decision. I feel that you can’t do anything all alone. You have to work with people, take their ideas, and understand what they are saying. We are in such a profession that we need to get out and see what is happening in the world. We (actors) are normally away from reality as we don’t get to interact with everybody on daily basis. So we don’t even know what is happening, sometimes people give us sound advice. One person can learn from other person if he wishes to learn. I want to learn from best and become a best person.
Do you feel the constant need to be in limelight, like some of your contemporaries?
I like to believe that I will make a difference with my performances. Yes, I do get affected see people doing better films. But it doesn’t make me jealous. It makes me try and work harder. I can only be held responsible for decision I take and not for what the other person has taken. If those decisions are working for that person, then that is great for him. I like to pick up a phone and congratulate the person if I liked their work. My father has always told me look for yourself if you want something, work harder and don’t think ill about others. If you have faith in yourself then you can move a mountain. I have always believed that I want to part of films which people should not say it was too bad. I don’t want to do films for wrong reasons, or money. I just want to enjoy being in the film. I want to be known as an actor and my process is little slow, unorthodox. I don’t like to take up too much work, because I don’t like those many stories. If I like a story then I will do ten films a year. If I make many mistakes then nobody is going to give me offers. So I want to be sure about the kind of cinema I do. Once the conviction goes wrong it shows in the film. It takes time for me to get convinced about a film and I am fine with it. It is just matter of one film.
Are you planning to expand your family’s business of hospitality?
Yes, that is an idea, which has reached a stage, where we could get in about a month or two. Once I finish promotions of Dobaara, I will start working on it. I always tell dad that I don’t know how much time I will be able to give it. But I am doing it is because I will be able get time to spend with my father. He will be in town for 15 days a month. I miss being with him. It is exciting, it is a different market. Dad is also excited about it.
What is the update on your next film with Taapsee Pannu?
I have almost finish shooting for it. We are yet to shoot two songs for it, which we plan to shoot in the next few weeks after my film’s gets released. We are intending to release it this year.
Are you doing Akshay Kumar’s Gold?
No, I am not part of it.
Do you get affected by rumours of your affairs?
No, we are actors; we are in a public domain. Not every time stuff is written about us will make us happy. Sometimes it makes us sad but it is part and parcel of the profession. You cannot do anything about it; you take it in your stride and move on.