Zain Imam talks about being offered Naagin, taking a break from TV, and taking the digital plunge

From playing the role of a brat to a police officer and now a surgeon, Zain Imam has aced myriad roles on screen. The TV actor, who rose to fame due to his charismatic looks, is currently starring in Crashh, alongside Rohan Mehra and Aditi Sharma in a digital series that streams on ALT Balaji. The actor opened up about taking a break from TV to work with doyenne Ekta Kapoor and also spilt the beans about his elder brother, who usually remains mysterious behind the veil, in an exclusive telephonic conversation with the Cinema Journal.

Ekta Kapoor, the street smart boss

Zain started his TV career in 2014 with the then-popular TV show ‘Kaisi Yeh Yaariaan’. Just like other TV actors, he aspired to work with Ekta Kapoor. “I've never done a show with Balaji (Telefilms),” the actor mentioned, “Ekta ma’am had approached me indirectly. So, I couldn't say no to it.” Talking about the TV maverick, the actor said, “I was aware of the fact that she knew me because she's very street smart. I was told that ‘she's willing to take you onboard as you’ll suit the character’."

Content is king

It wasn’t just Ekta Kapoor’s name that convinced Zain to take up the project. The actor revealed that it was eventually the content that made him give his final nod. “I wanted to give the content a read because it plays a significant role. So, I requested them to send the screenplay to run my eyes through it,” he said. “You know, people have this perception that if it’s an ALT Balaji (show), it's going to be sleazy. I really am not comfortable doing a sleazy thing. So, it was clear that I’d only do it if it’s clean. I often work on my terms and conditions. I was convinced after I heard the story from them. I liked the story and figured that there wouldn’t be any sleazy scene. It is also a kind of a turning point for ALT Balaji as they were able to prove to people that they were worthy of producing clean family dramas,” Zain explained.

So, if Zain disliked the content, would he have still done the show, just for Ekta Kapoor? When asked this trick question, the actor graciously replied, “I don’t think so.” He further added, “Unless ma’am would have personally called me and said ‘Zain tumhe ye karna hai’, tab main shayad karta otherwise main nahi karta.”

He added that he was offered Balaji’s top-notch TV shows like Naagin and Kasautii Zindagii Kay’s reboot as well.

TV is like a swamp

Like every actor aspires to see themselves on the big screen, so does Zain. “Of course, you aspire to see yourself on the big screens,” Zain commented. The actor who participated in the TV reality show ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi’, also revealed that he will be taking a break from the small screens. “I’ve decided to take a break from TV because it’s like a daldal (swamp), jitna aap ghusoge aap ghuste hi rahoge. (You will survive till you dig in.) I had to say no to money because I wanted to do something creative. So, I have turned towards doing digital shows, on Netflix, Amazon Prime or on Disney+Hotstar, something which is pathbreaking and gives me visibility.”

Talking about TV, the actor, who has been part of 6 daily soaps, further added, “TV is looking for me with open arms. However, TV gets monotonous sometimes. So, I want to do something different and creative, which is only possible on the web.”

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