Sharib Hashmi revisits Jab Tak Hai Jaan: I almost fainted when I met Shah Rukh Khan
Actor Sharib Hashmi may be enjoying the mega success of his latest web show, The Family Man 2, but it has been a long and inspiring journey. “Despite Filmistaan doing so well, I wasted three years of my life because of a bad job, until The Family Man happened,” he says.
Sharib started out as a screenwriter for television shows, including a longtime show on MTV, where he also made appearances on MTV Bakra and Semi Girebaal. Despite a good job in the initial phase of his career, Sharib had to wait over five years until Raj and DK nominated him as JK Talpade in The Family Man (2019). What followed was a string of memorable projects like Asur, Scam 1992 and Darbaan, aside from Ram Singh Charlie as a co-writer.
Thinking back on his journey, Sharib says, “I’m not affected by success today. I saw a good and a bad phase, both. The weather is changing, you shouldn’t change. Sharib has traveled down memory lane to recall his first major acting project. Here’s what he shared:
What was your first acting project? How did you come up with the project?
During my days at MTV, UTV, and even Channel V, I did a variety of jobs, including a cameo in Slumdog Millionaire. This time, I had no idea that I would ever become an actor. But after I quit my job and decided to become an actor full time, the first project I did was Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Around 2010 I started auditioning, but nothing happened for three years other than a TVC and a short film called Mehruni. As nothing could materialize, I returned to my job and within 3-4 months received a call from YRF Casting Director Shanoo Sharma. She saw Mehruni and called me for an audition for Jab Tak Hai Jaan. There were several rounds of auditions, first at their casting office in Juhu, then at YRF studios. In the first three rounds, I performed scenes from Vinay Pathak by Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. From the fourth round, I had scenes from Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Then Shanoo called me late at night and told me I wasn’t selected, instead the role went to another new actor. I felt sad and helpless, but at least I had my office job. After a few days I got a call from YRF again, this time from Yash Chopra’s assistant. He called me back once more and I wondered if I had already auditioned five times, what will change a sixth time. Nonetheless, I went there, auditioned, and returned to my office. In less than half an hour I got a call that I was selected and they are running in two days. I couldn’t contain my happiness.
When I first went to YRF studios, I saw Yash Chopra instructing his assistants, on the other side Anil Mehta was talking to some people. There was also Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra with their team. I was shocked to see such great people under one roof, and that I was about to work with them. It was an unreal experience.
What memories do you have of your first day of filming?
My first day of filming was also my first scene in the film when Samar (Shah Rukh Khan) removes the sheet from my character Zain’s face. I was rehearsing this scene with an assistant director. In one instance, when the sheet was pulled back, I saw SRK himself standing there. He said “Hi, I’m Shah Rukh”, and I almost passed out. After filming and packing, Shah Rukh sir told me that he liked working with me and that I was a very good actor. Even Mr. Yash Chopra complimented me. He said: “Tu Punjab se hai kya?” I told him that I was born and raised in Mumbai and that I am not even a Punjabi. He said I was doing great. So my first day will always be special and memorable.
Were you nervous?
I’m always nervous before a shoot starts. But once it starts, I put all of my nervous energy into the performance. The shooting was fluid. I shot for two days at YRF studios, and the rest was in London.
How was the relationship with your co-stars when you met them or worked with them again later?
Since it was my first big project, I stayed most of the time for myself. I joke a lot, so I had to be careful not to say anything that hurt anyone. I became best friends with the film crew, camera assistants, publicity assistants, Akshat Kapil, Abhiraj Minawala who directed Loveyatri. I met SRK at the movie premiere later. He met me very warmly. My wife is his big fan so when she met him she got extremely horny. She still says she remembers her scent (laughs). I also met him when I received the Screen Award for Filmistaan (2014). SRK was hosting this segment and when my name was announced he said Sharib was a really good actor and my friend. Just hearing that from him is so special.
Yash Chopra was such a huge personality but took care of everyone on set, from the light man to the actors. He cares about everyone. One day off we met in the elevator and he asked me if I was having fun in London. As it was cold there, he told me to take his jacket if I needed it.
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If you had the chance to reprise your lead role, what would you like to change or improve?
So many places. Even though I watch what I shot yesterday, I feel there is something I can improve. You are growing every day.
A movie or a role that inspired you to become an actor?
I love Anand. I have seen it many times and it has had a lasting influence on me. My all-time favorites are Kamal Haasan, Dharmendra, and Aamir Khan. After the release of Ek Duuje Ke Liye, I became such a fan of Kamal Haasan, that I started watching all of his films on Doordarshan, be it in any language. I’ve been used to the subtitles since then, compared to the people who are riddling the subtitles in The Family Man 2 today (laughs). The day I meet him, I will surely be nervous.
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