He debuted with Jhalli Anjali and has experimented with different roles. MUSBA HASHMI speaks with ZAAN KHAN about his new show Hamari Bahu Silk and acting journey
- What is your role in Hamari Bahu Silk?
I play Naksh Parekh, a 22-year-old photographer. My grandmother wants me to give up photography and take over the family business of catering services.
- How easy or difficult was it to get into the shoe of the character?
I had to work hard to get into the skin of the character. I am a Pathan and my character is a Gujrati. I had to learn to speak Gujrati and bringing in that accent which was a challenge for me. To get it correct, I spent time with my Gujrati friends so that I could learn the language and get my accent correct. I didn’t want to sound fake. Also, I had to learn photography. I weighed 82 kg when I was offered the role. I had to look like a 22-year-old so I shed 15 kg in one month. It was difficult. A lot of preparations went into it. It was like a learning process for me.
- Did you always want to be an actor?
No, I never wanted to get into acting. I wanted to become a singer. I was clueless about acting. But it happened all of a sudden. I was in my third year of engineering and I was going home during the vacations. On my way, I saw a film shooting going — it was for Satyagraha. Ajay Devgn and Amitabh Bachchan were shooting and I was excited to see them. I stopped there for some time. Some of my friends were line producers on the sets. Suddenly, one of them came to me and asked if I was comfortable in standing behind Ajay for a scene. I told them that I have never done acting and they said that all I had to do was was to stand behind him. It went on for 10 minutes and then they offered me to go with them for 10-15 days as they needed those same group of boys for other scenes. I went for it. On my second last day on the sets, I met Prakash Jha sir and they asked me if I was comfortable in reading out dialogues. The positive thing in me is I am confident. I don’t get anxious. Then, he offered me a role — Vicky. This is how I got into acting.
- How has your journey been thus far?
Mumbai has been extra kind to me. I still remember when I first came to Mumbai in 2014. Within two weeks I got my first show as a lead — Jhalli Anjali. It aired on Channel V. I have seen both highs and lows. I got a bit distracted in between my career and lost my focus on acting. But, I managed somehow and started focusing on my work again.
- What kind of roles attract you?
I love challenges. Any role that would challenge me as an actor, I would love to do that. I have played a lot of different roles. From a simple and innocent boy —Dhruv in Jhalli Anjali to a negative one — Kunwar Jeewan Singh in Ek Tha Raja Ek Thi Rani. I love playing different characters. I love to enhance my craft (acting) and as long as I am getting to do it, I would love to play any role.
- Apart from acting, what keeps you busy?
I love playing football. I love to eat. I read a lot in my free time. I am a family man, I visit my family once a month.
- What else is there in the pipeline?
I am concentrating on this show. I am very clear in my mind that till the show is running, I will only focus on it.