Give him a role and be assured that the job will be done with the desired perfection. Arif Zakaria , a theatre artist, better known for his role in a TV serial called “Chunauti” and films like Deepa Mehta’s “Earth 1947” and Shyam Benegal’s “Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose”, was in the Capital for the promotion of his two movies released last week, “Dee Saturday Night” and “Darr@The Mall”.
In the first, he has played the principal character of a hard nosed policeman and in the second, the main antagonist. Here he shares his views on issues like movie-making, the new breed of Bollywood, etc.
Your name is associated with top directors of Bollywood and you have always worked in issue-based movies. Are you choosy about your roles, and how do you approach them?
I can’t afford to be too choosy about my roles...this luxury only few have. But, yes, I do look for good roles with good directors. I have been fortunate enough to work with some good talent. I don’t have one path I tread when preparing for a role. I always rely on my instinct and director’s wisdom.
Looking at today’s scenario, do you think now there is a dearth of issue-based movies, and that the ‘hit’ formula has become the trademark of today’s Bollywood?
Films today are thematically diverse, well shot, bold and experimental. You are spoilt for choice in Mumbai today with reference to the work done. As to a commercially hit formula, Bollywood is ultimately an escapist fare which has to entertain, hence there should be big budgeted films based on pure fun and masti. But there are always films being made which are socially relevant and have a strong message, though these are on a smaller scale.
You have acted in “Merchants of Bollywood”. Share some experience of this project and your association…
The musical play “Merchants of Bollywood” has been the single most satisfying professional assignment till date for me. I performed in 700 shows all over the world, including Europe, the U.K., Australia and China.
It gave me a first-hand exposure of performing on the stage and experiencing different cultures in the process.
Do you think it is essential to market oneself as an actor to survive in Bollywood?
I guess, visibility is always important for any performing artist.
I am constantly competing with socialites, politicians, celebrities and all other breaking news events.
You started your career from theatre, then moved to television and then finally into films. Your name is not new in Bollywood today. How do you see the newcomers today? Do you enjoy working with them?
I prefer working with newcomers, as they are enthusiastic, energetic and driven.