Shahab Ali spoke about playing a negative character in Ek Thi Begum 2 after essaying an antagonist in The Family Man, having strong female characters in his shows, and why he doesn't wish to hold a gun the next time.
Actor Shahab Ali is back to playing a grey role in his latest web series Ek Thi Begum 2. Shahab, who has already impressed the audience by playing the main antagonist in the highly successful The Family Man, however, says his latest character Shaqeel Ansari is tad different from Sajid of the previous show.
“My director Sachin Darekar told me that just like Sajid, even Shaqeel will have a stone face but the pace of his speaking will be slow because the show is set the 80s. And when you set a pace for a character, even the body language, style of walking, and other things get arranged accordingly,” Shahab said during a Twitter Spaces session with indianexpress.com.
“I believe in detailing and the treatment of both the shows is very different. The Family Man was more realistic, Ek This Begum is more dramatic. The style of action is also different,” he added.
A Delhi-born NSD passout, Shahab holds a decade of experience on stage. He, however, confesses that despite all that, he still needs to do his homework before facing the camera. “Even if I’m giving an audition, I need time with my lines, my character and his background. Maybe I’m not that sharp or whatever it is, but I have to work a lot,” he said during the chat session.
Ek Thi Begum 2 has actor Anuja Sathe reprising her titular role of Ashraf Bhatkar who returns to avenge the death of her husband at the hands of his underworld rivals. Shahab’s Shaqeel is a new addition to the cast who tries to overpower Ashraf.
On being asked how difficult it is to find your ground when your character enters the show mid-way, Shahab added, “You need to give your best because the series is already appreciated. So the task is to blend-in well, in the story and with the team. You cannot be out of sync.”
Audience got to see a glimpse of Shahab’s fiery avatar in the trailer of the show. But it wasn’t really the action side that was challenging for Shahab. “My character smokes and has a filter in hand all the time. And I got to know this on set. If you’re a non-smoker, even holding a cigarette looks forced. I felt awkward too so I practiced to make it look natural.”
Recalling a similar difficulty he faced in The Family Man 2 as well, Shahab shared, “I had to drive a car and I didn’t know how to do it. In fact Samantha (Akkineni) was unaware about it. But because of things I’ve done in theatre, I’m a quick learner. It was a panic scene and the car stops at a distance after I press brakes. I think my actual tension translated well on screen. So what you see there is my real panic about driving. And (Krishna) DK said I gave a great shot (laughs).”
A post shared by Shahab Ali (@shahab.thespian)
Reflecting on being part of two shows with strong female characters, Shahab asserted that he wishes to see more of such women protagonists who are flawed, grey and “not morally correct all the time. I want audience to accept that”.
Though the artiste believes his responsibility towards picking good work has now increased, the choices are still limited. “I do want to try different roles. But the point I am in my career, I can choose only from what’s offered to me. The circle of auditions, rejection and selection continues. Even if the genre is same, every character is different. And as an actor, you must know how to differentiate between your characters,” Shahab said.
He, however, also expressed desire of doing roles that aren’t villainous. “I don’t know why my directors always give me a gun. I don’t want it anymore. Next time, I want a red rose in hand. I want to play something romantic,” he concluded with a smile.
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