Thursday, May 30, 2024

He played APJ Abdul Kalam in Srikanth film – Exclusive Interview with actor Jameel Khan

Edited by – Robin Bhuyan (Editor-in-Chief)

Written by – Reetika Choudhury 

Interviewed by – Shashi Salwani 

Enigmatic Horizon brings you an exclusive interview with Jameel Khan, who played the role of APJ Abdul Kalam in the recently released movie Srikanth, starring Rajkumar Rao in the lead role, directed by Tushar Hiranandani. Khan has also acted in numerous movies and web series, such as Gangs of Wasseypur, Baby, Blank and more recently Mission Raniganj. Jameel Khan is best known for the lead role in the web series Gullak, which has received a lot of appreciation from audiences and critics. 

How did you prepare for the role of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and how did you get involved in the film Srikanth?

Regarding my involvement in this role, the director, Tushar Hirandini, specifically approached me for it. He instructed the casting director to contact me directly. Despite the role of Dr. APJ Abdul being quite different from my personality in terms of age, appearance, voice, reactions, and other aspects, Tushar convinced me that I could do it justice! He assured me not to worry and presented it as a challenge, which I accepted. As for my preparation, it followed the usual process for any character, although it was relatively straightforward as the role consisted of only two scenes. Leveraging my past experiences and skills, I focused on capturing the essence of the character. However, I felt that the accent required more attention than it received. Nonetheless, the director insisted that he did not want anything more than honesty, warmth, and the motivational qualities associated with Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. I followed this brief diligently. I am grateful to Tushar and the casting director Abhimanyu for pushing me to take on the role. The audience’s positive reception has been rewarding, and I am pleased that people have appreciated my performance.

How was your experience working with Rajkumar Rao?

He is a definitely a great actor, and the way he embodied the character of Srikanth is phenomenal, needless to say! Not only me, but the whole world is praising his efforts. I feel proud of him, and working with him feels like he is my younger brother. In fact, we used to live in the same building, and we shared a strong bond with each other. When the other actors you work with are nice, and the relationship is good, it becomes easier to collaborate with them.

Tell us about your experiences in the web-series Gullak, which has hugely been appreciated by critics and audiences.

I wasn’t initially convinced about working on Gullak, but it seems it was destined for me to be a part of it! I’m grateful and thankful that I took on the role, as the outcome set a benchmark in my career. The love and appreciation Gullak received is truly commendable. It feels like the people involved with Gullak is a part of my family now. Gullak is a satirical web series that imparts many life lessons about society. It’s the kind of show you can enjoy with your family—a lighthearted yet insightful series that offers numerous teachings about life.

You have worked in OTT platform as well as in big screens. What do you think is the basic difference in these two? Or do you even see any difference?

I have started my journey with shows on stage, and I see few differences between these two platforms. One notable distinction is that in theatre, the actor serves as the primary medium for storytelling, whereas in OTT, the story is conveyed through various elements, with actors playing a significant role. Another difference is the duration of the story. In theatre, the narrative typically unfolds within a span of two hours, whereas in OTT, the duration is often extended to 4-5 hours, allowing actors to portray characters with multiple layers and providing a more expansive storytelling experience.

Do you think OTT might have a negative impact on cinema, commercially?

The quality of content on OTT platforms surpasses that of television shows. Series on OTT platforms are typically released in limited episodes, with another season often produced 1-2 years later, maintaining the audience’s interest. But when it comes to theatrical movies, if the content and quality are good, audiences will never be bored. Watching films on the big screen offers a unique and immersive experience, free from distractions, allowing viewers to become fully engrossed in the story, which cannot be replicated on any other platform. When discussing the potential negative impact on society, it ultimately boils down to personal choice. If you don’t like certain content, you always have the freedom to just not watch it! With the vast array of content available on the internet, it’s up to each individual to decide what they consume.

Why did you choose acting as your career?

I believe no other profession would have suited me as well as acting does. When you enjoy the work, you do and get paid for it, I guess you don’t need any other reason! I have been involved in acting since childhood, performing in theater during those days. The enjoyment I derive from acting is unparalleled; I cannot find it anywhere else, to be honest! The life I experience while performing, the characters I inhabit, and the emotions I express—these are experiences I cherish deeply. Though the words belong to the writer, the emotions are mine to express. The ability to portray different characters and emotions in my reel life is what truly makes me feel alive!

As an actor, what are some of your favorite movies?

One of my personal favorite movies is Ijaazat by Gulzar Sahab, and I also enjoy classics like Amar Akbar Anthony and Sholay. When it comes to recent movies on OTT platforms, I’ve really loved shows such as Baby Reindeer and Heeramandi.

Among the directors with whom you have worked so far, who remains your favorite?

Neeraj Pandey is one of the most commendable directors, and I would love to work with him again. Then there’s Anurag Kashyap, Sriram Raghavan, and few more.

There’s been a debate going around nepotism since the last few years. What is your opnion and have you faced any kind of discrimination yourself?

In my opinion, the concept of nepotism is often misunderstood. It’s not confined to workplaces; it can also be observed within our families. Plus, I think there is nothing wrong with parents giving opportunities to their kids. Now we can’t expect Mukesh Ambani to select someone other than his own kids to be the heir to his business empire, can we?! The same applies to the world of cinema. However, it all comes down to talent. Despite getting the opportunities due to their parents, if the star kids don’t live up to the mark, their careers will not last long!

Any projects that you are working on at the moment?

Mandala Murders, Bak Bak, Saxena vs Saxena are some of the projects that I am working on.

Thank you for your time! It was a pleasure!

Thank you!

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