Q. 1 What were your thoughts when you learned that you had to play a politician in Youngistaan?
I thought it would be cool to see a young politician doing some great work. He is a young Prime Minister who never points a finger at any other politician or party which doesn’t happen nowadays. They are all into the blame-game politics. But the politician that I play does not do that. He also enjoys a normal life.
Q. 2 Who do you admire among politicians?
The entire team of Youngistaan has been inspired by a lot of people like Rajiv Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and international politicians like Benazir Bhutto. All these people are not just politicians, they’ve also been leaders. We’ve kind of put together the traits of all these inspiring leaders in the politician that I play in the film.
Q. 3 What did you do to make your role look authentic?
I had to be politically aware, and educated on the subject to make it look real. Getting the body language right was difficult, especially since I had to be a little uncertain in the first half of the film and later look confident as the story progresses. Director Afzal Ahmed Syed, and late Farooque Shaikh were there to guide me through.
Q. 4 Since politics is a serious subject, didn’t you have apprehensions about doing the film?
Primarily, it’s a film, so we’re here to entertain, but we had to also give out a certain message without being preachy. Youngistaan is also a politician’s love story. There were apprehensions, but at the end of it, I’m just happy I could do a role like that.
Q. 5 What’s the message that Youngistaan conveys?
We’re just saying that if you want to bring a change, then be a part of that change. Nobody is going to do anything for you, unless you do it yourself. We throw garbage on the roads, but when we go abroad, we look for a dustbin. Why can’t we do that in our own country?
Q. 6 As someone who’s part of the youth, what kind of change do you want in your country?
I just feel that the biggest thing to do is, stop playing blame-game politics. Honestly, the young generation is not asking for gold, silver or diamonds, so don’t make all those grandiose promises. Stick to what you commit. Make us feel that you’re making an effort. I may be wrong, but as a representative of the youth, I just feel that we miss having a true leader.
Q. 7 Do you think the advent of social media has led to more people voicing their opinions about politics?
Everyone has a right to have an opinion, but at the same time, I feel, that one should use his discretion in doing that on social medium. Sometimes people are so biased, that just because they don’t particularly like something, they’re going to bad mouth it. Technology has both, advantages and disadvantages.
Q. 8 You seem to have learnt a lot about politics through this film.
I’ve learnt a lot more about life through this film. Initially when I approached this character, I took him as a representative of the youth. I’ve learned so much through this whole journey.
Q. 9 What were the kind of problems that you became aware while playing a young PM?
We travelled to villages and shot on real locations. One day, while chatting with some villagers during the shoot, they confessed that they didn’t have basic amenities like food or education. Whereas we get angry about our wi-fi connection not being good. I also realised that as a leader, you have to be like a father, who has ten children, and every child has a different requirement that needs to be addressed.
Q. 10 Would you describe Youngistaan as a reality check for you?
Yes, it’s what made me grow as a person. I’m thankful I got to play this role. I come from a family where I have been fortunate, so for me to experience and see the other side of life, was only possible because of this character. Now I’m thankful and grateful for the things I have in life.