The web series Aakhri Sach is streaming on Hotstar these days, actor Firdous Hasan is also an important part of this series. Firdaus, a resident of Gaya, Bihar, has been active in the industry since 2006. Firdaus, who was a part of films like Mukkabaaz, Raabta and Sanju, started his career with Farhan Akhtar’s film Lakshya. He has also worked with Shahrukh Khan in the film Veer Zara. Conversation with Urmila Kori on actor Firdous Hasan’s journey in the industry so far and sharing the screen with legend actors….
How was the response to the web series Aakhri Sach and did you join the show Aakhri Sach after a long break? Were you nervous while shooting?
Mashallah show has become a hit. It’s been more than five weeks since the series was released, but people are still appreciating it. As far as shooting is concerned after a long time. It had been almost three years since I shot. No work had started after the lockdown. This was my first work after the lockdown. I was very upset. There was a lot of helplessness and despair, but I was not nervous during the shooting. I felt that if I have got this opportunity, I have to do well. If I am alive. If I live, I live for acting. If I get that work, I will give my full 100 percent in it.
How would you describe Tamanna as a co-actor?
Tamanna is very good. He is very helpful. I had very long scenes with him, sometimes what happens is that when there is no camera on the actor, he goes away and the assistant director or someone else gives you the cue, but Tamanna was giving the cue herself, when the camera was on her. Even if it wasn’t. Our timings were not matching in one or two scenes, so he also told us a trick that if we do this then maybe it will happen. She is a girl with a heart of gold.
How did you get involved with films?
I am from a very small town in Bihar. I am from Sherghati of Gaya. I studied till class 10 from there, then I did further studies from Science College, Patna. I joined films very late because my father did not even like watching films. I went to watch a movie in a theater for the first time in Patna. Once I was watching Mithun Chakraborty sir’s film with my brother. He would die in that. I said he is dead. Brother said that he is acting. .Saw another movie in which he was alive. It impressed me a lot that this is a world where you can live multiple lives simultaneously. After this he joined world cinema. The first Hollywood film I saw was Titanic. After that it was decided that I will do acting only.
How did you prepare yourself for acting?
I went to Delhi, where along with getting involved in plays, I started studying Japanese language in JNU. The main reason for this was because I did not want to go to any other job. I wanted to become an actor. Whatever interviews I had read or heard stories of struggle. He understood that I had no one in Bombay. No one in the family has even gone, so how will I live in Mumbai. I did Japanese language to support my acting career and it also helped me a lot in my acting struggle. Before coming to Bombay, I had saved money by working in Japanese. I used to run out of money while struggling in Mumbai, so I used to go to Delhi and work as a translator in Japanese language for a month and then with the same money, I used to struggle in Mumbai for 11 months.
When and how did you get the first opportunity?
While studying in JNU in Delhi, I joined Safdar Hashmi’s drama group. While studying, I got my first film Lakshya. In fact, one day a senior told me that an audition for a film was going on in Green Park, in which Amitabh Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan were in the lead. My ears perked up. Decided that I would go there the next day. I reached there at 4 o’clock, but I could not find the address. Searched for half an hour, but couldn’t find it. Disappointed, he came back to take the bus, but before taking the bus, it came to his mind that he should try one more time. It was where I was looking for the address but an audition was going on in the basement. One told me to run towards the basement. Saw a woman collecting all the papers. I said I have come to audition. He said the audition is over. I said madam, I have come from a long distance. I have been wandering for one and a half to two hours. She was the famous Bollywood casting director Nandini Srikanth. She said that I will not be able to give you the script, but you stand in front of the camera. I will ask you some questions. You keep answering him. This was the first experience of my life, I had never given an audition before. They asked me about myself, my hobbies and I went on answering. I went on answering with full confidence. I didn’t have a phone at that time, so I gave him the address and phone number of my hostel and left. I was so happy with this that I gave the audition. After 10 to 12 days, he was going to the hostel after studying from the library one day at a time. I see that there is a crowd at the hostel gate. Everyone was happy and very excited. I wondered what happened brother. People told that two people had come to meet me. He said that I have been selected for the film Lakshya. He has given his number and asked to call. After that I didn’t think anything, I ran towards my brother’s hostel, because my brother had a mobile phone. In this way I got selected in Lakshya film.
Did you ever get a chance to talk with Amitabh Bachchan in the film Lakshya?
In the film, I played the character of hero Trilok Singh, who was one of the 6 commandos. Famous faces like Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta were there in that film. It was difficult to believe that I was actually working with them. Used to talk to everyone. When I told Amit ji that I am a Japanese speaker, he said something to me in Japanese, which means thank you very much in Japanese. He had said this word in the film Namak Haraam for opening and closing the curtain. I told Sir that Sir, you had said thank you very much, which was not appropriate for that scene. That was a wrong dialogue. In that scene, something like ‘Pa Khul Ja Sim Sim’ or Band Ho Ja Sim Sim’ had to be said in Japanese language, so he said how would I know, which is given to us in writing. We say that.
You worked with Shahrukh Khan sir in Veer Zaara, how would you describe that experience?
I still remember my first meeting with Shahrukh Khan sir very well. Court scene was going on. A big set was installed. I was sitting facing the judge. I suddenly felt that something happened behind me. I turned back and saw that Shahrukh Khan sir was coming. I felt that day that there was a magnetic appeal inside him, which made me feel that he was around. What else he has is very different from the rest. We shot together for 12 days. He is a very humble person. He used to talk to everyone on the set and ask everyone to have dinner together. He told me to always keep working and never stop working.
You started with big films, then what happened that things did not go as they should have?
I think this thing was given to me in the beginning so that I could come here and never be afraid to struggle. After doing these films, I went back to Delhi to study. Came back to Mumbai in 2006 and from there my struggle started. I was not getting good opportunities in acting. I started earning a little money from modeling and advertising films. Then I thought that I had not come to Mumbai to become a model. I decided that I will not do modeling because if money comes from anywhere, then your focus gets reduced in acting. In 2010, I also stopped working as a Japanese translator. I thought that I would earn money only through acting. I got a film in 2011. In which I had a lead role, but that film was never released. I then started doing small jobs. Started doing small roles in films like Mukkabaaz, Sanju, Raabta. I was not getting the kind of work I wanted, but I was forced to do whatever was available to me.
Have you ever been troubled? What was the most difficult time?
Was badly troubled during the lockdown. After the lockdown, my courage started showing a little. I had got married and also had a child. Before that I had not broken down. Then I decided that I will go to Japan and work there for a year and after bringing money and settling my family, I will start my struggle in acting again, but the last real offer came.
Your father was against films, so how did he accept the decision of becoming an actor?
When I started acting, no one in my family knew. Only my elder brother who was with me in Delhi knew. My father was a principal as well as a maulana. He hated films, but when I got selected in the film Lakshya and then my interviews started coming, he came to know about it and got very angry, but he had many friends in his school, who explained that look Maulana Saheb, your child. Who is doing it. That is not a small task. The whole world is after it but very few people get a chance. Your son has got a chance to work with Hrithik Roshan, Amitabh Bachchan. Father never saw any of my films, but then he never expressed any displeasure. He died in 2017, which is the biggest regret of my life that I kept struggling in Mumbai and could not spend time with him.
How much connection do you have with Bihar?
Lives a lot. I was born there. That is my soil. I will always be a Bihari. My family is still there, so we visit once or twice a year.
your upcoming projects
I have completed one film called Rivaaz. I am going to start another film in which I will have a lead role. There are one or two more projects.