Posted on April 7, 2020 at 10:43 am

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Exclusive Interview: Saqib Ayub Shares His Thoughts on Life as an Actor

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Crown The Brown: Saqib Ayub

Exclusive Interview: Saqib Ayub - Life as an Actor. Crown The Brown

Crown The Brown: Saqib Ayub. Saqib Ayub has certainly turned heads as he portrayed his character as Hemant in the Netflix series ‘SHE’. He brought the action and was able to effectively bring the character to life.

Saqib has spent many years on set and has learnt a lot being in front of the camera. Despite the life on set, he has certainly worked on more than just being an actor. Saqib has made a name for himself on screen and in a media sense with his qualifications.

He has so much to offer and we wanted to know all about it! We were so curious to know more about this up and coming star. Here is what Saqib shared with us!

Exclusive Interview: Saqib Ayub - Life as an Actor. Crown The Brown

A man of many talents on and off screen. When did you first start acting and how did your love for the arts begin? 
Thank you for the kind words! I think there are people who are more talented than me out there. I’m just a regular Bombay lad who fell in love with being on stage. While also pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Mass Media (BMM) from MMK College in Bandra.
While in college we were supposed to do projects for external marks (practicals you can say). Some of them involved making short films, ad films and enact a skit or a short play.
I realized after my very first project (a short film in the subject of history), that I’m actually pretty bad behind the camera! So after that I began acting in all the group project short films. Also in college we were supposed to participate in intercollegiate BMM festivals which had various events.
I tried my hand in the first festival in the fashion show which made me fall in love with the feeling of being on stage. I had never been on stage in my life until that point. And after that I participated in the drama event once I got over my stage fright. Since then I was regular in the fashion show and drama events in every college festival till I finished college. So you can say this is how I first started to act.
The falling in love part happened later after graduation actually, when I got rejected from the FTII.
I had cleared the written examination and was invited for the interview round to the institute which i couldn’t crack – and started doing theatre under the guidance of Mr Mujeeb Khan, an eminent theatre personality in Bombay’s theatre scene, with his group called IDEA.
I’m absolutely indebted to him for guiding me and training me in those early years. IDEA predominantly does Hindustani theatre, mostly on the stories of Munshi Premchand, Manto, etc. It was these stories and the different characters that I played. Which are even today relatable. It made me fall in love with the art and I decided to pursue it full time. As I couldn’t land a job even after giving several interviews after graduation.
Thankfully my parents were and still are super supportive in my pursuit of a career in acting. I was under Mujeeb sir’s guidance for almost 2 years and meanwhile would also give auditions for TV commercials, etc. And I did land a few commercials and small gigs in TV shows during that time.
Being an actor, you get to play many roles. How do you prepare yourself for various roles? What’s your method of practice?
I don’t really have a set formula to prepare for any character actually. It’s mostly real life experiences and observations of different people that I come across everyday where I pick up nuances to add to any character when I have ample time to prepare for an audition.
Whereas when I’m shooting for a project the director is usually there to guide me around the character, the background, and other necessary details which I then try to find in myself if I have those or can relate to those based on my life experiences, or if I have met someone or know someone who’s close to the character and try to imbibe certain nuances into the character.
If these tools also don’t work, I just brainstorm and make up the character in my head and share it with the director, who then guides me into polishing it more.
But along with my homework I prefer to go by the director’s vision to be honest. I’m still at a very early stage in my acting career I would say, and fortunate enough to have worked with some of the greatest minds we have in the country.
Exclusive Interview: Saqib Ayub - Life as an Actor. Crown The Brown
How has the entertainment industry in general, impacted your life as a performer?
I would say the entertainment industry has had a pretty positive impact in my life as a performer. The entertainment industry is filled with different kinds of people from various parts of the country, and everyone has a story!
The more people I meet, the more content for me to absorb to incorporate in my performances. I sound like a stand-up comedian but that’s actually how I go about it. I love knowing the people I come across, the stories they have – not just fellow actors but everyone, from spot boys to the tailor, to the casting assistant, to the intern cinematographer and gaffer. Being an extrovert makes it easier for me to get along with people.
Exclusive Interview: Saqib Ayub - Life as an Actor. Crown The Brown
Many take acting for granted, how did you perfect your craft over the years and who inspires you the most? 

Oh I’m far far away from perfect! I’m still learning, every day of my life, whether on or off set. As I said above, it’s just real life experiences and observations which I try to imbibe as much as possible and try to incorporate in the opportunities I get.

Besides that, I watch a lot of critically acclaimed shows and movies, international cinema – I’ve been regularly attending the Jio MAMI Mumbai film festival since last 4 years which has made me explore international cinema online as well – and also watch plays once in a while, to learn as much as I can.

Also this book called ‘An Actor Prepares’ by Constantin Stanislavski has been immensely helpful in bettering as an actor. For me it’s like the best handbook an actor can have.

My biggest inspirations are those actors who play unconventional roles. You know the likes of Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Irrfan Khan, Vicky Kaushal, Rajkumar Rao, Ayushman Khurrana, Deepak Dobriyal, Randeep Hooda, Sanjay Mishra, Manoj Bajpayee, Gulshan Devaiah, Naseer saab, Zeeshan Ayub, Vijay Verma and more.

But if you ask me who’s my inspiration as an entertainer and an actor, it’s hands down Ranveer Singh. As a person I can relate to him very much.

Exclusive Interview: Saqib Ayub - Life as an Actor. Crown The Brown
You’ve recently shot for a series that is officially aired on Netflix called SHE. The story line is truly inspiring and nail-biting. What was the experience like for you? What did you learn from working on such a thought provoking show?

It was a fantastic opportunity for me. I’m really glad Imtiaz Ali sir was confident of my prowess to pull off Hemant. I’m glad that he counted on me!

It was a fabulous experience working with such immensely talented people in the cast and crew. The main learning experience for me was going out of the comfort zone to film the intimate scenes, which is sometimes uncomfortable for some actors. Also, I was guided and at the same time given the liberty to add my inputs in the scenes as well.

I think India needs more such thought provoking shows/movies which will eventually evolve the audience’s taste and ask questions. Eventually such kind of content will put us on the map of international cinema and competitions where we have started to make a mark, and make us one of the powerhouses.

Exclusive Interview: Saqib Ayub - Life as an Actor. Crown The Brown
What are some of the challenges you have experienced working in the industry?
The usual challenge which is faced by most people is the crowd which is ever increasing, and in turn increases the competition. Other than that it’s the following up for payments with production houses,  though not with every production.
In the initial few years the main challenge was figuring out how things go about in the industry, make an impression in the casting directors’ minds so that they remember you, and networking. I’d say I’m still networking my way up even now. Being a freelancer I have to be my own manager, do my own PR, which is also a challenge.
Exclusive Interview: Saqib Ayub - Life as an Actor. Crown The Brown
There are a lot of stereotypes related to Indian shows and actors in general. What are some of the stereotypes you have encountered and how has it shaped your work?
Oh yes, I can relate to that! The stereotypes I mostly fall under are a musician, a drug dealer/addict, an asshole (prick), a snob, a DJ, a traveler, a hippie, a Goan, a gangster, an opportunist, a criminal, and certain other characters that fall in the negative, quirky and out of the box shades/categories.
It’s actually shaped my work in a good way, because most of the characters that fall in these shades are not typical or conventional. They make me go out of my comfort zone and are always a challenge to play, which has helped me become a better actor.
Exclusive Interview: Saqib Ayub - Life as an Actor. Crown The Brown
How do you think we as a community can celebrate our actors more and why is it so important to support the arts?
I think we celebrate our actors quite a lot already. What we need is to celebrate those unconventional actors who give power packed performances one after the other. Doing that will only up our game in making more meaningful content driven cinema and shows which can help us compete internationally.
I also feel regional cinema needs to be celebrated more compared to commercial Bollywood and Hindi cinema. There are some really hard hitting and thought provoking cinema being made in different parts of the country. Every year in MAMI I come across a few films from South or elsewhere in India. Which make it to my top 10 list.
They should be supported and celebrated more. There’s a lot of good work being done elsewhere as well. I think social media is the greatest promotional tool we have today. Almost the entire youth of the country is on social media. And we all know that the youth can bring about a wave of change in any culture.
What has been the biggest highlight thus far in your career and what do you wish to achieve in the next few years ? 
I think the biggest highlight of my career yet is working in Thugs of Hindostan with YRF. Working with the all time greats like Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan. With a huge international and Indian crew. Going to places like Malta, Thailand and Jodhpur for filming, Literally a dream come true along with an immense amount of learning.
In the next few years I wish to be a part of more thought provoking, unorthodox and challenging films and shows where I get to challenge myself as an actor and grow.
                Thugs Of Hindostan BTS from the Thailand schedule
Do you have any future projects that we can look out for? 
Yes I am doing a small part in the film Brahmastra, which is being eagerly awaited by everyone. Also a part of this show produced by Excel entertainment for Amazon Prime. I can’t name right now. And of course the second season of She.
Saqib, What advice do you have for other aspiring actors?
Have a lot of patience. Get training. Keep working on your craft. Be honest and truthful with your job. Give importance to networking. Keep learning from everyday experiences and observe people you come across. And most importantly have fun in the journey.
Saqib Ayub is definitely an actor worth knowing and a rising star! We cannot wait to see more of Saqib on screen! He knows how to turn heads and certainly has such a passion for being on set and working on character development. Saqib Ayub is one name worth knowing. Be sure to follow his journey on instagram @saqibayub .
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