Filmmaker Abbas Burmawalla’s son Mustafa is making his Bollywood debut as an actor with Machine. Mustafa opens up in an exclusive interview to Koimoi on his journey from an assistant director to an actor in his father’s film, why he chose to become an actor, his love for stunts and more…
It would be a dream debut for anyone to start his Bollywood career with an Abbas-Mustan film. Do you think you started with an advantage?
I can’t say advantage but I got an opportunity. Given the family that I come from, they have a name in the industry, I have to work even harder. There are a lot of expectations. All I want to say is that I got this amazing opportunity and I want to make the most of it.
Do you feel a pressure?
Of course, I do. As I told you right now, you have to keep up to the expectations. The stakes are very high since I am Abbas’ son. I have worked really hard and hope people like my film.
Did you always want to become an actor?
I never considered taking up acting as a career. Rather I always wanted to be on the other side of the camera. I wanted to be a director. As an assistant director, I would often enact scenes to my dad while narrating the same. That’s what encouraged me to be an actor. My cousin Zainul suggested my name to dad and uncle (Abbas-Mustan) while they were brainstorming for a fresh face for Machine. I started off as an assistant director in the film and ended up being its hero!
When we watch the film, will we get to see your name both as the hero and as the assistant director?
(Laughs) I just wish that happens!
In which other films have you assisted Abbas-Mustan?
Before Machine, I assisted them in Race 2, Players and Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon.
What’s your character in the film?
It’s a very simple character. He is a very mysterious guy, with a multi-layered character. But he is romantic at heart, who tries to woo his ladylove in a mysterious way!
What is the film all about?
Machine is not about cars or mechanical things, the film deals with the heart. Always listen to your heart is what the film says.
Why has the film been named Machine?
That again is a mystery which the viewers will decipher in the last 30 minutes of the film. If I reveal the reason behind the name, I will actually give away the entire story. (Laughs)
I have heard that you are very good at stunts and gymnastics. Is this true?
Yes, I am. Actually, I would like to tell you about my daily routine. I wake up at 5 in the morning. I start my day with gymnastics and martial arts, followed by my dance classes and gym. After I finish doing all these, I get time for anything else. I never take a day off from this routine. If I ever have to attend a meeting at 9, I make sure to wake up by 4 so that I can finish my workout before it.
This means you are a very disciplined person?
Yes, I am. I sleep early in order to get up early. I like to start my day early as I start getting a bit lethargic towards the second half. I did not have to learn stunts separately for the film. All I had to do was undergo a two-week long training to learn to drive Formula One cars. The driver taught me how the gear works, how the car runs on the track. It was pretty exciting! In fact, I did not feel like leaving the race track after the shoot got over. After all, you rarely get a chance to drive these cars!
Since you are good at stunts, can we see Mustafa in an action film next?
Definitely! I am reading a lot of scripts these days and have not finalised anything. But if a good action film script comes my way, I would surely take it up.
Do you plan to launch yourself as an action hero in Bollywood?
I am not sure. Actually, these days, actors are expected to be all-rounders. They should know everything right from action to acting to dance and every single thing. Whether I am doing an action film or a romantic film, I am going to give my 100% in it. I don’t want to say that I will confine myself to an action hero, my main motto is acting. I want to focus the most on that. After all, an actor’s purpose is to entertain his audience. I will do that.
Your dance performance in the song Chatur Naar was amazing! Are you a trained dancer?
Not since childhood. I started learning dance just a few years back. I did not dance very well before that. I have learnt Bollywood, Hip-hop and other dance forms. I have worked really hard to brush up my dancing skills. At one point of time, I used to practice dancing at least 10 hours daily. While shooting for the film in Georgia, I used to dance for two hours every day, in between scenes. When the time came to finally shoot Chatur Naar, it had become easy with practice. I could then focus on my expressions and other things.
Why did you choose to remake Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast?
This song is one of my childhood favourites. This is one of dad’s favourites as well. While discussing the song one day, we decided to do its remake. It’s a very catchy number. See, the original is always going to be the original. We just revamped the song. It’s a tribute to Akshay sir and Raveena ma’am. I hope everyone likes it.
Mustafa, the son of noted filmmaker Abbas Burmawalla (of the Abbas-Mustan duo) is making his Bollywood debut as an actor with the romantic thriller film Machine. The Abbas-Mustan directorial stars Kiara Advani in the female lead. The film is set to hit theatres on 17th March.