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‘My plan is no plan’: Saqib Saleem

Effortlessly straddling between three minute and three hour formats, Saqib Saleem will now don the Indian cricket team’s colours on screen

Fondly remembered as the good-for-nothing son in the comedy Mere Dad Ki Maruti, Saqib Saleem continues to enthral his fans with his performance in Koi Dekh Lega, a part of Love Shots, the Y-Films web series where he plays a visually-impaired lover.

Soon the actor will be essaying the role of an aggressive, contemporary batsman in Rohit Dhawan’s, Dishoom. Saqib who bats for Sohail Khan’s Mumbai Heroes in the Celebrity Cricket League shares his love for the game, how he works to etch his roles real and his three-minute film Koi Dekh Lega.

Shweta Tripathi and Saqib Saleem in “Koi Dekh Lega”

Edited excerpts from an interview:

It is said that love is blind. Your recent short film Koi Dekh Lega is about being in love and blissfully blind to the world.

When I first read it, I thought it was a sweet and genuine script. Our intention was to try and not let people know that we are playing blind. Yes, if someone catches then great and if not then people come to know in climax. Our intention was to make honest film and celebrate the feeling of love. That love can happen at a bus stop.

Much after the release of the film do we get to know if it was well made or not. When you see the reactions of your audience you get to know how the film was. However, it was really interesting working in the Koi Dekh Lega. The whole idea is you need to tell a story whether it’s in the form of short film, a feature or a TV show. If that’s coming across, you have won the battle.

How challenging it is for an actor to move from three hours to three minutes?

It is very challenging because when you are doing a feature you have lots of time to establish yourself as the character. But, when you do something like Koi Dekh Lega it tests your abilities in just three minutes in which we have to make people understand the character and evoke emotions – where is it coming from and where will it go.

What was it like working with Shweta Tripathi?

I have known Shweta for five years. Films that we were supposed to do did not work out for one or the other reason. So we were really looking forward to do a film together since very long. This time, I called up Shweta and said, ‘Let’s shoot!’ without any discussions as this chance may not turn up again. She is a refined and fabulous actor, who does films and other things for a reason. In Koi Dekh Laga, I was so busy performing that it is only in the final film I got to see her performance. She was undoubtedly amazing.

On inspiration for playing the characters

My plan is no plan! Explore everything that is possible. I do not draw inspiration from someone particular. I just look around and observe people and catch the nuances that will be useful and can be brought into the character. I want to make the character feel more real and relatable with the audience. At times, someone’s action or body language strikes and stays with you and I try to incorporate them. If the ingredients are right, your dish will just turn out to be perfect.

As somebody who has played cricket how tough or easy was it to essay the role in “Dishoom”.

For me, playing a cricketer on-screen was interesting. You’ll see me playing the role of today’s Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina or Rohit Sharma who are doing very well for the country. I have always wanted to be a cricketer and aspired to play as an opening batsman with Sachin Tendulkar. As a daily ritual I used to say to his huge poster, ‘One day I will play with you.’ But, things just don’t go the way you plan and that is when acting happened to me. Someone like me who always wanted to wear an Indian jersey is ready to wear it now in the film. Since I’ve always been a sportsperson it was slightly easy to play this character but the most difficult and important part was to get the body language right. Moreover, Rohit Dhawan is a director who keeps thinking about making things better.

Watch the short film Koi Dekh Lega starring Saqib Saleem and Shweta Tripathi

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