Srinagar: Kashmir’s Laila Majnu famed star Abrar Qazi is all set to make his TV debut, and will be playing the lead role for a new television show ‘Ghatbandhan’.
Qazi, 28, who is presently shooting in Mumbai for “Gath Bandhan”, will plays the role of a gangster from Dombivli. The narrative of the show a romantic drama set against the backdrop of a Marathi family. His character will fall in love with a non-Marathi girl, who goes on to become an IAS officer.
The promo of the show, which will be aired on Colors TV, depicts the story and association of crime and law, has “India’s Next Superstar” contestant Shruti Sharma playing lead in female.
Qazi’s role was much appreciated in the romantic saga “Laila Majnu”, which released last month. The movie was entirely shot in Kashmir. Speaking to Kashmir Reader from Mumbai, Qazi said that he was pretty much excited about his new role. “It has been a wonderful experience so far. It is a different world that I had always dreamt about.”
The emerging artist was born in a regular joint family in Srinagar. After schooling from Tyndale Biscoe School Qazi was attracted to visual and artistic things since childhood. “Acting was something I was always interested in. Watching those Bollywood films in my childhood was very intrigued to me. I remember the first time I acted on stage and played the part of a tree in a school play and I really loved to do it.”
In Kashmir where opportunities to become an actor are very rare, Qazi strived hard to achieve what he calls “a dream”. “As time passed I figured out that in Kashmir you don’t get such opportunities and when I left school, I really wanted to do filmmaking and everything associated with the craft but that meant I had to leave Kashmir,” Qazi said.
Some family compulsions did not let Qazi move out of Kashmir. But to keep the desire of filmmaking and acting within himself alive, Qazi along with his friends started individual projects. “We made some films based on social issues. Those were really amateurish and did not meet our own expectations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Qazi took admission in Srinagar’s Islamia College and completed a bachelors degree in Commerce. “I wasn’t interested in studying Commerce. It was just for the sake of doing something… family compulsions etc,” Qazi giggled.
By the time Qazi graduated, the desire in acting and filmmaking had not died down in him. “Soon after I completed my graduation, I went to Delhi and did some backstage in plays. I also did some workshops but again it did not go any further and I returned to Kashmir.”
One back in valley, Qazi joined Islamic University of Science and Technology to pursue a master degree in journalism.
“I tried to find something which was at least remotely connected to filmmaking so I joined a masters course in journalism at Islamic University of Science and Technology.”
After completing masters, Qazi joined a little know company in Srinagar as graphics designer. However, the job wasn’t satisfying as, Qazi said, he still wanted to pursue acting as a career.
“I came to know about this local line production agency based in Srinagar “KJ productions”. The enterprise has worked with various Bollywood blockbusters including Rockstar, Haider and Bajrangi Bhaijaan. “Through KJ productions, several Kashmiri actors have got roles in many films that were shot in Kashmir, so i started working there as an editor and also used to manage some office work,” Qazi said.
Qazi credits major part of his success story to KJ Productions. “It was here that many directors and producers would come for auditions for multiple projects including advertisements and films.”
“One day I came to know that Mukesh Chhabra who is a big casting director in the Indian film industry was looking for fresh faces in Kashmir to cast in major roles for Laila Majnu. Chhabra wanted authentic faces, so I gave an audition and was shortlisted for a character.”
Qazi was immediately flown toMumbai where he met all the cast and crew members of the film including the director Sajid Ali and the creative director Imtiaz Ali.
“I was a bit nervous before meeting them but they made me very comfortable. It was a dream come true to work in a Hindi feature film and was a learning experience for me as an actor.”
Working in a film changed the course for Abrar Qazi. “It was also an eye opener because I got to know the sheer amount of hard-work everyone puts in to make a film.”
Qazi, unlike most of the people in Kashmir, had full support of his family.
“I had the support of my family. They always trusted me and wanted me to pursue what I wanted in life. I was not put under pressure to do something else and for me that was the greatest blessing because without the support of your family it is very difficult for anyone to do anything with the right mindset.”
Although Laila Majnu did not work big at box office, but Qazi’s role as “Zaid, a friend of Qais (Avinash Tivary)” was much appreciated.
Qazi believes that working in Laila Majnu opened doors for him.
“After the film I moved to Mumbai and gave auditions for various roles. I was selected for a role in a web series for amazon prime. The untitled and unreleased series has other Bollywood stars in lead role.
Currently, Qazi is shooting for Ghat Bandhan in Mumbai’s film city. “It not easy to be an outsider and break into this industry. You have to be patient and positive and at the same time be persistent and determined,” believes Qazi, “Luck must also be on your side.”
On Sunday Qazi and her co-actress appeared on the sets of Big Boss 12 Grand Finale for promotion. The serial will be aired on Colors from January 15 and will replace big boss time slot.