Saqib Saleem spills the beans on collaborating again with sister Huma Qureshi for a film

The actor talks about his journey in the film industry, working with his sibling, upcoming film in Amazon Prime Video's anthology Unpaused Naya Safar, and more

Lipika VarmaUpdated: Monday, January 17, 2022, 07:51 AM IST
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Pic: Instagram/saqibsaleem

Saqib Saleem, who was recently seen in 83, made his silver screen debut in Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge (2011). His next project is Ruchir Arun’s film Teen Tigada in the anthology Unpaused Naya Safar, which will stream on Amazon Prime video from January 21. In a candid chat, Saqib spoke to Free Press Journal about his upcoming projects, collaborating with sister Huma Qureshi, and more. Excerpts:

With a rise in Omicron cases, how are you managing to work during these tough times?

I am in a hotel in Mumbai. The building we live in has witnessed a few Covid-19 cases. I was supposed to start shooting on January 6, which got shifted. My mom got Covid, but thankfully she had mild symptoms. She is fine now. I have started shooting for Crackdown season two from January 16. Huma is shooting in Bhopal. My family and friends are safe. We have to survive by following the protocol and not run from one place to another. Follow the necessary steps and wear your masks.

You completed a decade of your Bollywood innings last year. How do you feel about your journey so far?

I have had a lot of fun. When I came to Mumbai, I had come with a zero. Today I have a lot of experience. A lot of stories and learning. I am from Delhi. I could have done just one commercial, and even if I had to return to Delhi, I would have been very happy. I didn’t want anything. I came and got so much love. It feels there is still a lot to do. In my head, I am in the space where I am enjoying acting more than anything else. Now, I am slightly sure about my craft, which earlier I wasn’t. I am in a good space and still working continuously. I try to incorporate that work with good people. I worked with one director who always told me every shot was good. I was fearful. I want to work with people who have a good narrative.

What made you greenlight Unpaused Naya Safar? Could you talk about your role in it?

I am bored of playing the chocolate boy kind of roles. I felt Ruchir was offering me a great experience. I play a guy called Chandan from the UP-Bihar belt. He is a small con artist, a thief. He does these small jobs to make his end meet. This is his last job, as his wife is eight and half months pregnant, so he will make money and start a new life. He gets stuck in the second lockdown and cannot go back to his wife. His wife is about to deliver the child. He is stuck in a dilemma with two other guys. It’s not like they are best friends or get along very well. In my head, I have to be with my wife, but I can’t. I’m not enjoying it as there is no food to eat, and how in these 14 days, the journey that we live changes our entire life and become the people that we become is the crux of the story.

Your upcoming projects?

I have a film called Kakuda. Hopefully it will release soon. Right now, it's in post-production. We will know after a few months where we stand. The producers will decide if it will be released in theatres or OTT. That’s the call the producers will have to take. It is a horror-comedy set in a fictional town. I’m doing a horror comedy after a long time now. I had a great time working with Sonakshi (Sinha).

Any other projects?

There is season two of Crackdown. It is directed by Apoorva Lakhia. Unpaused Naya Safar is releasing. We are continuing to work following the covid protocol. Crackdown season two should come out in April/May. Let’s see when it comes.

How was it to work with Apoorva?

He is a damn cool guy and a lot of fun to work with. I have known him because we play a lot of cricket together. We bond differently. My relationship with him is a little more than an actor. We will make season three also (laughs).

Pic: Instagram/saqibsaleem

You and Huma had collaborated in the horror film Dobaara – See Your Evil. Will you two act in more films together?

I would love both of us to be seen on the silver screen. We have evolved as actors over the years. Every artiste goes through a stage when they do very good work. Today, Huma is doing excellent work, so I, as an actor, have to collaborate with her. I don’t wish that we work together unnecessarily. But I want a film with the right script, then 100 per cent we will be working together again.

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