'If you have an ambition, your age is not a factor at all,' says actor Sharib Hashmi

The actor talked about finding his calling as an actor and what led to his debut with Shah Rukh Khan in 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'

By Yasser Usman

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Published: Thu 20 Jul 2023, 5:38 PM

In the recently released biopic of the famous chef Tarla Dalal starring Huma Qureshi, talented actor Sharib Hashmi plays her supportive husband. In this interview with City Times, Sharib talks about how his acting journey is similar to Tarla’s story and how his debut felt like a dream when he worked in Yash Chopra's Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

From dark, serious roles in Vikram Vedha, Afwaah and The Family Man to this sweet, cute take in Tarla. How did it happen?

I am glad that Tarla happened. I can’t thank them enough that they considered me for this beautiful character. The day I had heard the narration of Tarla from Piyush Gupta (writer-director), I said to myself, “I am Nalin Dalal. No one else can play this character. Please cast me. Don’t look anywhere else (laughs). If I wasn’t chosen for this role, it would have a lifelong regret for me.”

Though Tarla is a biopic of a famous chef, the story works on many levels, covering many important issues…

The main theme is about a dream. If you have a dream or ambition, your age is not a factor at all. Tarla was married with kids, but she found her calling which, by conventional standards, was quite late in her life. And the way her husband supported her despite societal pressure is an incredibly inspiring story and an emotional one. That’s why it connects.

I feel your own story is similar to Tarla’s story in terms of finding your calling quite late in life. When you decided to become an actor, wasn’t it quite late by conventional standards? Were you scared?

Yes, I was scared. Though I always wanted to become an actor but finally took a lot of time to take the decision. In my childhood I always dreamt of becoming a Bollywood hero but when I grew up and looked in the mirror I said, “This guy doesn’t look like a hero at all (laughs).” And I didn’t want to settle for anything less - either hero or nothing, so I didn’t pursue acting. I became an assistant director and started writing. Then I worked in MTV for four years and made some famous shows like MTV Bakra and a spoof called Rendezvous with Semi Girebaal with Cyrus Sahukar.

Oh, that show had annoyed Simi Grewal?

(Laughs) Yes it did! I think if anyone makes a show on me I would be happy. Coming back to my journey, in MTV when I used to narrate my scripts, my director used to say I do it so well, and I should act. They would ask me to play those characters in the TV shows. That’s how acting made a back-door entry in my life. By then I was married with a kid, so it was a great risk to pursue acting. But the passion didn’t leave me. By the time I turned 33, I realised if I didn’t give acting a chance, I would regret it forever. One fine day I left my job and joined the audition queues.

And then your debut was with none other than Shah Rukh Khan in Yash Chopra’s Jab Tak Hai Jaan...

It was an unbelievable chance. I gave auditions for three long years and the first big project I got was Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012). It’s also special because I got a chance to become a part of Yash Ji’s last film. The first day when I reached the set of the film, I still feel like it was a dream. I mean I used to dream shooting with Shah Rukh Sa’ab and doing a Yash Chopra film and there I was. I had to pinch myself. I will not forget that experience.

Dreams do come true...

Yes, and then I played lead roles in my initial films Filmistaan (2012) and Phullu (2017). But then there was a rough patch of few years when good work wasn’t coming my way. I made a comeback with The Family Man (2019). For me OTT came as a blessing. Everything in my life and career changed after that. After The Family Man, I got Asur (2020), followed by Scam (2020), The Great Indian Murder (2022) and then films like Darbaan (2020), Vikram Vedha (2022) and Afwaah (2023). I feel immensely lucky!

And many more to come. I want to play different roles and yes, definitely write and direct films.

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