Who can forget the character of Major Khalaf Bin Zayed in superhit movie “Airlift” Inaamulhaq, who hails from Saharanpur, a small town in UP, is no novice. Before acting in “Airlift”, Inaamul was seen as an actor in movies like “Firaaq”, “Filmistaan”. An alumnus of prestigious National School of Drama, Inaamulhaq started his career as a writer for TV shows. His first Major role in a feature film was, as the Pakistani national Aaftab, in Nitin Kakkar’s National Award winner Filmistaan (2012) for which he got several awards like “Best Actor in a Supporting Role at “Big Life OK Now Awards”, Best Actor in a Supporting Role at “21st Annual Screen Awards”, Best Actor in a Supporting Role at “IBNLive Movie Awards 2015”.
He also got applause for his short film ‘The Search” being nominated for the Best Film Award in the short film competition category in “Berlin Asia-Pacific Film Festival-2006”.
With very interesting projects Inammulhaq has his hands full these days. Bollywoodirect got a chance to talk to him about his cinema journey, aspirations and experience.
A: The story of my life has been interesting as well as full of happenings. I was born in a remote village near Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh. Since my childhood, I have lived 3 different lives till now. I spent the first 10 years of my age in a remote village Kailashpur, where basic resources like electricity were hardly available for a few hours, no Television at home etc. The second 10 years of my age was spent in the main city of Saharanpur, as we had to shift due to my father’s job transfers. I had to bid goodbye to all my friends in Kailashpur with a heavy heart.
When I was pretty young, during my days at National School of Drama (NSD), I remember reading a Maxim Gorky’s novel called ‘My Childhood’. The book rekindled the memories of migration to Saharanpur from Kailashpur. I realized that I had suffered the similar pangs of separation that Gorky in ‘My Childhood’ describes in the story. And the rest 16 years belongs to mega cities Delhi and Mumbai including some abroad trips. And I am grateful to God that he has given me the opportunity to live different lives in one life.
Q: You graduated from NSD with the specialization in Acting; still you contributed to industry as a writer in early career. What was the reason behind that?
A: After I graduated from NSD, I started taking theatre workshops in Delhi University to earn some money, in order to come to Mumbai and try my hands in acting. But in two years, when I realized that my bank balance is still zero, I borrowed some money from a friend and came to Mumbai in 2006 to fulfil my dream of making my name as an actor. Life was still tough. Mumbai had shown me stars in the sunlight. I couldn’t even think of asking some help in terms of money from home, as they all were surviving only on my father’s pension and were heading with basics.
My friends have been a big support in those times. A friend, Nitin Gupta helped me with the ticket and Sandeep Mahajan gave me some space in his house to stay. But I didn’t want to be dependent on him for long and it was then I decided to utilize my second best talent- WRITING. My first job as a writer was with Pankaj Parashar ji, for whom I wrote the story, screenplay and dialogues for Karamchand Season-II.
Then came in Comedy Circus where I joined as a creative consultant. Three, three and a half years had already spent doing all these things and I suddenly realized, ‘main kya karna aaya tha aur kya kar raha hoon’. And so I left that job and started looking for acting opportunities in films. My first break was with Nandita Das’s Firaaq, but I didn’t gain much popularity with that. Then came a long break. Then I preferred writing as a part-time job to pay my bills and to chase my dreams.
Q: You have also spent a quite good amount of time doing theatre plays. What are the major differences you have experienced, when we compare to the acting in Movies?
A: For me, Film acting is more difficult than theatre. The journey of the character in theatre plays starts from A and ends at Z. And moreover the biggest difference in theatre and movies is that the atmosphere. The atmosphere of the sets of the film is chaotic as compared to the theatre and in that chaotic atmosphere, you need to have the focus on your work.
Q: Very few people know about your direction capabilities. You directed award-winning short film “The Search” and “Parchhaiyaan”. When can we see a full-length feature film directed by you?
A: I believe in going with the flow. For the time being, I am concentrating only on acting. I am sure there will be a time in the coming future where I will surely think of directing a film.
Q: Writer, Director and Actor – all of them have a different perspective on the character and all want to imprint their mark on the character. What is your view on this?
A: Not only the character but having various POVs definitely help to build a foresight about the entire project. I am fortunate to have the visions of all three capacities. A writer’s point of view helps me judging the whole script, Actor’s point of view gives me the insight of a the characters and Director’s point of view me indicates me how this film might turn out in the end. I might be wrong sometimes but having different visions really helped me a lot so far.
Q: You’ve played some very diverse character roles in your career and you always bring some realistic observations to every character. Can you talk about how your roots helped develop you personally and define you as an actor?
A: Every actor’s personal journey enrich him or her as an actor. Most of the time it all comes from observations. When I see myself from this point of view I found myself so rich and so full of experiences, for example during my childhood, sometimes I used to have a bath in a dirty pond full of mud. And in the later part of my life, I had a bath in a five-star swimming pool too. At this point only, if you compare me with a rich boy who was born with a golden spoon you will find me richer than him, in terms of experience. So more experience always helps you to be a better actor. In my case, it helped a lot.
Q: How was the overall experience during the shooting of “Airlift”?
A: Positively Wonderful! Basically because of the good vibrations from the captain of the ship, I guess. I had been lucky working with amazing people like Raja Krishna Menon, Nitin Kakkar and Nandita Das.
Q: Your story can inspire many budding actors. What will be the realistic approach you will suggest to the newcomers?
A: The only realistic approach I would suggest is to be ‘Realistic’, and I am sure this will you take you places.
Q: In which upcoming projects, you are working on?
A: You will see me again in a very different role in Mehran Amrohi’s directorial debut, a Children’s film ‘Chidiya’.