Faraz Khan, the Hyderabadi actor from ‘Ship of Theseus’, straddles theatre, television and cinema
Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus has succeeded in Hyderabad by word of mouth and in its second week, enjoys an increased number of shows (five as against two the first week). Faraz Khan, the Hyderabad actor who is part of the film, is pleased. Khan, who plays Vinay, the blind photographer’s boyfriend, knew what he was getting into when he signed the film. An indie project rarely gets a chance to reap in rich dividends. “I looked at it as an artistic investment. I am proud to have been part of this film,” he says.
Listening to Khan speaking about his college days in London, it’s clear he’s not new to swimming against the tide. “Two months into my course, I realised I wasn’t cut out to study Information Systems, at least not in a college that expected students to regurgitate what they studied. I decided to work, meet people and explore. For the next five years, I did everything apart from studying,” he says.
At 26, he decided to be a performing artiste. Khan studied theatre at Drama Centre and London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, worked in plays, short films and documentaries. He quickly got an agent but the parts he landed himself into made him think of moving to India: “I was being offered roles of a Pakistani terrorist or a gangster. I didn’t want to be slotted into similar roles.”
The mainstream opportunity came in the form of Nikhil Advani’s Patiala House. “The team was casting in London and I got the role of Akshay Kumar’s brother,” recalls Khan. Ship of Theseus happened in between the schedules of Patiala House. Khan cherishes the memories of the film. “Anand (Gandhi) didn’t have a regular audition. We had a normal, non-filmi conversation,” he says. One of Khan’s memorable moments on the sets was discussing Richard Dawkins’ book The Blind Watchmaker with Anand Gandhi: “A scene in the film reminded me of a passage in the book that discusses bat echolocation and I told Anand that. He told me he didn’t know many actors who had read Richard Dawkins and I told him I didn’t know many filmmakers who read.”
Now that the film has been applauded, it has opened up new possibilities for Faraz Khan. “Those who would hesitate to share their scripts with me earlier are now willing do so,” he says. Next, Faraz will be seen as an anti-hero in Girls, scripted by Megha Ramaswamy (who also penned Shaitan). There’s also the German film The Girl With The Indian Emerald where he plays a cycle rickshawala. Besides, he plays a geeky scientist in television series Danav Hunters for Mahindra’s to-be-launched channel Epic. He has also directed the play The Open Couple, which will be staged at Lamakaan on July 30 and 31. “Theatre is my first love; then comes cinema,” he smiles.