Besides the fact that Airlift and Jolly LLB 2 proved to be a goldmine at the box-office, there is one common factor which was featured in both the film. And the common factor is none other than the extremely powerful actor Inaamulhaq, who had played the much-appreciated role of Major Khalaf Bin Zayd in Airlift and Mohammed Iqbal Quadri in Jolly LLB 2. The very versatile Inaamulhaq will now be seen in a yet another powerful role in the forthcoming release Lucknow Central.
Satish Sundaresan of KoiMoi met up with Inaamulhaq for a really cool interview. Presenting the excerpts:
What’s your role in the film?
I play one of the five convicts in the film. The film is about how music connects the five convicts on an emotional level. My character in the film is not a criminal by profession, but still, he gets a life term due to certain helpless circumstances, which are beyond his control.
Don’t you feel that the outline of Lucknow Central is almost similar, if not same, with that of the recently released Qaidi Band?
All that I can say is that Lucknow Central states that it has been inspired by true events. The said news had come in the newspapers, which must have reached the residences of both the film directors of Qaidi Band, as well as Lucknow Central. Even though I haven’t seen Qaidi Band, I am sure that both the films are different from each other. Plus, I firmly believe that every person’s and every film’s destiny is pre decided, which nobody can change. We saw what happened to the destiny of Qaidi Band. Now we will see will happen to the destiny of our film Lucknow Central.
How did Airlift happen?
I had written a script called Mr. Minister, which I was pitching it to many people. When I got to know about Raja Menon, I went and met up with him. When I met him, he said that my script was good but this was not the film he was looking at. After a few days, I got a mail from him stating that he had lost my number. When I called him, he called me for a casual conversation at his house. He, then, promised me that whenever he was making a film, he will surely cast me. After about six months, Raja kept his word and called me. I felt so very good to know that people like Raja exist, who like to keep up their word.
Since Airlift has been one of the turning points in your career, can you tell us a bit about how you bagged the film and also is it true that the film’s director Raja Menon asked you if you were ok with giving an audition but, it was you who insisted on doing an audition?
That’s true. He said that he knew and was extremely confident about my caliber as an actor. And since there were people above him who were the decision makers, he requested me to audition for the role. After I heard the role, I said that I would not be able to do the role without an audition. He hugged me after the audition and said that he was very happy with my audition. All those who saw the audition were convinced that I was the right person to do the role.
Films like Class Of the 90s and The Last Flight To Kuwait helped you a lot for your role preparation of Airlift. How did you prepare for your role in Lucknow Central?
Since Lucknow Central is a film about convicts, many expect to visit the jails and observe the convicts. But, I personally feel that, much before they are convicts, they are human beings first. A part of the script and a part of my imagination helped me to prepare for my role in Lucknow Central.
God forbid, imagine, if, one day, your acting career takes a backseat. In such a situation, will you struggle doubly hard in the acting department or will you use writing skills as your back up?
I have been through such a situation myself. There was a time when I was not getting the kind of roles which would excite me. In such a situation, I kept my writing skills intact and continued writing. I prefer writing a good TV show or a film rather than acting in a bad film.
On a scale of 10, how much would you like to rate yourself as an actor and a writer?
As an actor, I would give myself 2, and give 1 to my acting. Reason being, I still have a long way to go.
Did you have to struggle to reach the position in which you are in today
There are many people out there who struggle. As far as I am concerned, I am a fighter. I fight with the challenging situations. I have always fought to bring about a change in our cinema. Many believe that if they have a star name attached, there is no need of a script which is totally wrong. There are many who shout that there is a dearth of writers in Bollywood today. To this, I would say that while there are many writers in Bollywood, what is lacking is the respect that the writers should get. The writer should be highly paid and highly respected person in the industry, which, sadly, is not the case.
Did you feel bad and let down when your role got drastically cut in the remake of Agneepath?
I won’t call it as a bad experience. For me, it was a learning experience. I shot for the film for a full 60 days and I had played the role of Tinnu Anand of the original. Even though I do not drink, I used to be present on the sets like an alcoholic, as my character was that of an alcoholic. I was assuming that this film will take my career to dizzying heights. For reasons best known to the makers, my role got cut. I feel that they did so because to maintain the length of the film, for which, I am not complaining. When I saw my downsized role, I went home dejected and woke up my kid at 2 am and started playing with him. Trust me, that proved to be the biggest antidepressant for me.
What role did your friends play in your life?
Friends play a very important role in everyone’s life. Same in my case also. My friends have always been my well-wishers. They have stood by me through the thick and thin of times. There are times when my friends have shouted at me stating I refuse films which offered big money and after that, I go to them for financial help. At the same time, they also stand by me for the choice of films that I choose and do.
You are known to be a master of disguises. Will we see yet another costume drama in the Kapil Sharma starrer Firangi, which is rumoured to be a period film set in the 1920s?
You will surely see me in an interesting role in the film. It’s an interesting film. It’s a period film set in 1920. Firangi is probably the first-period film with the element of humour in it. It’s a light, social family drama woven with a love story and independence struggle.
Lastly, do you want to tell anything else about Lucknow Central?
I would rather let the film do the ‘talking’.