Actor Saqib Saleem went back to his hobby of writing, learnt cooking and watched old cricket match highlights during the lockdown. Now, the actor is back on the sets of his next film Comedy Couple, which is being shot in Delhi.
During one of his shoot days, the actor sat down for an Instagram LIVE interaction with indianexpress.com, where he poured his heart out on the ongoing insiders vs outsiders debate.
Saqib began the conversation by asking, “What is this insider-outsider?”
“When I thought I wanted to be an actor, no Bollywood producer or director called up and said, ‘Saqib, come to Mumbai, I will make you a superstar.’ It was me who decided to become an actor. So, I came to Mumbai. I have had my own journey and I am proud of it. Every field, be it food industry or journalism, has its own shares of obstacles. We have spoken about it (nepotism) so much! All we need to do is find work and do it,” he said.
Saqib Saleem remarked he “wants to steer away from this insider-outsider debate” because he fails to understand it.
“I am in a space where I just need to work. I want to do good content. I want to steer away from this insider-outsider debate because I don’t understand it. I have come from ‘outside’ and I have gotten work. How can I complain about it?” the actor opined.
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The Mere Dad Ki Maruti actor said the insiders vs outsiders debate is “very confusing.”
“Nobody is going to serve you work on a platter. It (working in Bollywood) was never meant to be easy. People representing the outsiders at the moment have careers run by their own sisters. So, I feel this debate is very confusing,” expressed the 32-year-old.
“Having an opinion is fine but to make an issue out of it is a massive problem. We can agree to disagree, but I feel kuch hogaya hai aaj kal logo ko (something is wrong with people nowadays). I don’t know why people want to fight or pull someone down. It is ridiculous,” added Saqib, who was one of the actors to quit Twitter around two months ago because he “didn’t want to wake up to people screaming at each other.”
Saqib Saleem also wondered if the people who are heading this entire nepotism argument expect the star kids to give up acting only because they belong to an actor, director or producer’s family?
“Yes, there is a debate. But my point is, what does a Varun Dhawan do if he is born in David Dhawan’s house. He should not act? Should he be like – ‘Oh no, I am born in David Dhawan’s family. I should not act because outsiders have to come and act.’ Why? If he is good, the audience will tell him and they have. Alia Bhatt is a good product of nepotism. She has great acting potential. I have seen her films, and I am like, ‘wow! what a good actor!’” the Dil Juunglee actor said.
Saqib added, “We cannot hide under a garb and say, ‘we are outsiders. We are treated like this.’ No. I don’t want sympathy from anybody. I have worked really hard because I am passionate about acting. Don’t undermine my potential, my hard work. If there is an issue, people will raise their voice.”
The actor said while getting the first film or break is easier, it is only your potential that can take you forward.
“My father owns a chain of restaurants in Delhi. It would have been easier for me to open a restaurant too, but it depends if I run it well, if the taste of the food is good and if I am publicising it well, it is my responsibility. Similarly, the doors (of Bollywood) open for you a little, but you have to work hard for that door to remain open for you. Everybody has to,” said the 83 actor.
Saqib Saleem concluded the conversation by saying a lot has changed since his debut.
“From the time I started, which was about 10-11 years ago, the industry has changed a lot. Now, I feel there are more opportunities for people who come from outside to showcase their talent. Earlier, we were limited to films. So, for people to figure out things or to get a break in the industry was far more difficult. But with the rise of OTT platforms, there are so many opportunities. Today, people are coming from everywhere and getting different kinds of roles. Such good content is being made on the web and even in films. These are extremely interesting and exciting times for everybody, including actors, directors and technicians, who just want a chance.”