Shehzad Shaikh: Showbiz is a profession only privileged people get into
Becoming an actor is a dream that many youngsters harbour, but very few end up actually on screen. Actor Shehzad Shaikh says that getting to be part of this industry is no easy feat. “It is tough to become an actor in any scenario, this is a profession that very few privileged people end up getting into. I know that 80% of the world wants to do something or the other with the industry. It is one of those industries which pulls you towards it. Dreaming and doing are two different things, everyone just dreams of becoming an actor, but nobody goes out and actually takes the effort to achieve it. Do the right thing of knocking on the door and asking for work and where their niche actually lies. After a short stint in films, I had to re-enter TV and that was the hardest thing. And to break back into the industry it was really difficult, next to impossible. But I had put down my cape and then I put it on again,” he says.
The actor loves being part of TV. “I grew up in a country where we didn’t have cinema. The first movie that was shown in Saudi Arabia was Black Panther. So, I come from a place where TV and cinema are the same things for me. Rather, being on TV is bigger than being in films, for me. A lot of people might go against this, but your biggest film will take you to Japan, and is going to last for 2-3 weeks. But on TV, you are being watched 4 times a day, all over the world. And most of the people are tuning in at some point or the other. So, TV actors have the advantage of which not everybody is probably looking at. The best part is the experience that they come with. A TV actor has already given 700-800 episodes which is probably more content than the A-list Bollywood or Hollywood actors,” he says.
Ask him if you need luck to survive in the industry, and he says, “I don’t know about luck, I believe in the right place and the right time. Or being around the right place at the right time. Personally, I can tell you one thing that is the industry and luck do go hand in hand. Sheer will and hard work will always give luck a backseat. There are 3500 production houses and even if you go to 1000 production house, you will surely get work. Let luck take a walk and let hard work do the rest.”
Actors often say that they don’t want to play the same role again. Shehzad agrees with this notion but adds that every character can be played in your own unique way. “I agree because actors don’t like playing the same role again and again. But at the end of the day, it depends on what you define as similar. You are the fool that generalises everything. I believe that there can be 1000 different types of chocolate boys and 1000 different types of heroes and 1000 different ways to romance. Each role is given to you and it is up to you to make it unique,” he says.