‘I wasn’t thinking about outshining anyone’

Debarati Palit Singh
Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Actor Saqib Saleem, who has put in a lot of effort to build his sculpted body for Race 3, says he is excited to be a part of a multi-starrer

Remo D’souza directorial Race 3 is the biggest entertainer in Saqib Saleem’s career so far. The star-studded film features Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Jacqueline Fernandez, Daisy Shah and Freddy Daruwala. Saqib can’t stop gushing about being a part of the project.

“To be a part of this film with all these actors have been a great learning experience, especially for a young actor like me. I have been in the business for a few years while some of them have been here for 30-35 years,” says the actor known for films like Mere Dad Ki Maruti, Hawaa Hawaai, and Dobaara: See Your Evil, among others. 

He adds, “People think of me in a particular way because of the films I’ve done before. With Race 3 I am opening up my audience and getting to show my skills to a lot of people I couldn’t reach before. The reach of this film is wider than all of my previous films combined.” 

This is just the kind of push his career needs, he shares. This film will also put him back in the game as a commercial hero. “I am a commercial baby and I have grown up on commercial films whether it is Sholay, Mr India, Satte Pe Satte or Amar Akbar Anthony — these are my favourite films. I started my career in Bollywood with a few commercial films, then I was seen in a different light because of the work I chose to do. I did films like Bombay Talkies and Hawaa Hawaai only because I wanted to work with people like Karan Johar, Amole Gupte to learn from them,” says Saqib. He believes that working with people who are more talented, experienced and intelligent than him helps him hone his skills as an actor. 

Race 3 will also see Saqib doing hardcore action sequences. Though he’s been an athlete, he admits that the role was physically demanding. “I’ve was into sports before getting into acting. I had to train a lot to do the action scene which involved kicking, punching, jumping and all that. I had not done this in movies before, so I had to invest a lot of time in my training,” he says. 

But it’s not just about doing the action scenes correctly, the actor had to spend a lot of time in the gym because the entire star cast needed to look their fittest. “Each one of us spent at least two-three hours in the gym working out and getting massages. Most of the male actors have taken our shirts off in the film,” says Saqib, who had the responsibility of having the most sculpted body because he was the youngest cast member. 

Race 3 is being touted as Salman Khan’s big fat Eid release. While working with the A-list actor, along with others stars, how challenging was it for Saqib to stand out? “Right from the start, I told myself I will not even try to do that. If I put in a lot of effort, people will notice it. I just wanted to make the performance likeable, and do my job right by making it look effortless. If you’ve watched previous films from the franchise, you will know that the film is led by one star, but every character has something to do in the film. I was happy because I was getting to work with all these legends. I wasn’t thinking about outshining anyone,” says the actor.  

It’s double celebration for the brother-sister duo. While there’s much excitement about Saqib’s  Race 3 before its release, his elder sister Huma Qureshi’s Kaala is already getting a good response at the box office. “Our parents are coming to Mumbai so it’s going to be a nice family affair. It’s been a while since they’ve watched our films. We hope to spend some quality time with the family,” he signs off.

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