Saqib Saleem refuses to take part in insider-outsider debate: ‘It is my journey and my decision, I can’t blame anyone for this’

Saqib Saleem underwent a whole set of emotions during the coronavirus pandemic, from turning into a couch potato for two months before finally getting back to work post lockdown. The actor had completed the shooting of his web show Crackdown just before lockdown and was looking forward to the release of 83 when the pandemic brought shutters down on theatres and post-production work came to a standstill. Post lockdown, the actor not just saw the release of Crackdown but also shot an entire new film while adhering to necessary safety measures.

In an interview with Hindustan Times, Saqib talks about his acting job and how it was difficult to imagine a pre-endemic era during his recent shoot. He also shared his views on the insider-outsider debate and said that it was his decision to choose such a profession and he cannot blame anyone for his own journey.

How did life treat you during lockdown?

It was difficult but we have brought Crackdown after lockdown so I am very happy. First two-three months of the lockdown were very tough because there was a lot of uncertainty. As we are finally getting used to it, now I am restarting my life keeping in mind that there is a pandemic, so I have to be safe by taking certain safety measures. There is a saying the show must go on.

What did you do while keeping indoors?

I did not do anything at all during the first two months. I was like a vegetable on my couch and would watch television all day. I was in a strange mindset as there was so much uncertainty. Then I told myself that I need to find purpose in my life and decided to get back to work. I shot an entire film, Comedy Couple, from start to finish in lockdown. It will come out in October. I had finished the shooting of Crackdown just 10 days before lockdown was imposed. Since all post-production work came to a halt, people had to work round the clock to make sure it was completed.

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Your character RP in Crackdown on Voot was severely diabetic but you were seen with ripping muscles and six pack abs. You also had quite a few shirtless scenes on the show, whose idea was it?

If you take care of your diet and health, anything is possible. I wasn’t diabetic in real life so could achieve it. But if the character of RP had to make it, it would have been difficult but not impossible. It was Apoorva Lakhia’s idea to go shirtless in the climax scene.


You shot Comedy Couple during lockdown? Were there any major challenges?

I felt like I was on the set of a sci-fi film, everyone was in masks, shields, gloves and PPE kits. I felt very weird because the world we have created in the film was Covid-free world while all we were talking about in real life was about Covid. For first two days, it was very difficult to detach myself and act as if there is no pandemic. I was even wondering if I know acting at all and if I am able to do it. But then I told myself that I have decided to do this film willingly, so I will take all safety measures and get tested every four days because I am meeting new people. I have to act, that is my primary job and I don’t want that to get affected. I realised there is nothing better in my life than being on a film set. I am very grateful to the almighty for being able to work when people are losing jobs around the world.

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Do you feel things could have worked better for you if you were not an outsider?

It’s not like I am not offered many films but I like to take my time. I feel I can do justice to only one project at a time. I don’t think I am mentally equipped to plan my two-three years about all the projects I have to do.

What is this insider-outsider? When I came from Delhi, no producer or director had called me and said, “I will make you a star”. It was my decision to become and actor and I did my share of hard work. It is my journey, I can’t blame anyone, it’s my decision. Especially at a time when there are so many OTT platforms and so much content being made, one must not complain at all. Find the right kind of work for yourself and go for it.

Author tweets @ruchik87

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Reference: HT

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