Actor Firdaus Hassan got exposed to the magical world of cinema much later in his life, but once he saw a few films, he knew his calling. After honing his acting skills in theatre in Delhi, he moved to Mumbai to pursue a career in films. The actor can be currently seen in Disney+ Hotstar’s streaming show Aakhri Sach, also featuring Tamannaah.
Eastern Eye recently caught in touch with Firdaus to talk about the response he has been receiving for his new show, his humble family background, his struggle, and upcoming projects. Read on…
What kind of response have you been receiving for your recently released show Aakhri Sach?
I am getting a good response; people are appreciating my work. I believe an actor has a good appetite for work and they really enjoy the appreciation that comes along with it. The work and appreciation compel an actor to work more and more on their craft and with time, their craft becomes even better
How did you bag the part?
An actor keeps working on their craft but that is not enough for a livelihood. Since lockdown, there had been no work for almost 3 years. One day, I got a call from Mukesh Chhabra’s office for the character of Constable Subodh in Aakhri Sach. They asked me if I would like to test, I said, “Yes” and they sent me a script. I prepared an audition and bagged the part.
Tell us something about your background and what made you fall in love with cinema.
I am from Shirghati in the district of Gaya, Bihar. My schooling is from Ranglal High School in Gaya itself. My father was a teacher in the same school and then he retired as the principal there. We didn’t have a filmy atmosphere at home. I went to Patna to study after my 10th standard. We didn’t have a TV until I was in 12th standard. I started watching movies really late in my life. Once my brother and I were watching a film, and when the hero died in the movie, I started crying. I realised I am a very emotional person. My brother explained to me that the hero did not die in reality, he is an actor and he is acting. Later, I watched another movie of the same actor and I wondered how an actor can live so many lives in a single life through acting. This concept really fascinated me and it made me develop an inclination towards acting. That’s how I fell in love with cinema. With time I realised entertaining somebody is such a beautiful deal and it pushed me to become an actor
When did you begin acting professionally?
I started acting professionally in 2013. My first film was Lakshya directed by Farhan Akhtar. During that time, I was entirely new to acting, I had just begun theatre acting. I just gave an audition and it happened. I always feel that I didn’t come to Mumbai, I was brought here from Delhi
Since you come from a theatre background, do you believe that theatre is the best place for actors to hone their skills?
I believe in whichever field you are working in, you must be well-practised, it is extremely essential to have knowledge about it and study it well. Theatre is where an actor can polish their skills and gain confidence because the best part about theatre is that you perform in front of a live audience while you might have to interact with them, you have to think on your feet, you have to be spontaneous. Theatre really helps an actor to open up which is very crucial. If an actor has time and money they should definitely invest in theatres.
What has been the most challenging part of your acting career?
Well, for an actor who does not have any relations in the industry or a background, and who does not have any surety, the most challenging thing for those actors is to go through the waiting period. When will it end nobody knows. Actors have to take care of their mental health, physical health, they also have to work on their craft and practice every day while waiting to get the work they desire. I feel it applies to all creative people. One of the biggest hardships I felt was when my dad passed away in 2017, of course, I was not aware of it if I had known, I would’ve spent more time with him because it was a really big incident in my life, it taught me a lesson that there is no surety of anything, you never know about what happens next. So, one must always spend time with their loved ones, especially with their parents.
Did you ever think of quitting acting when things were probably not going your way?
A lot of times it happened that when there was no work, I started questioning myself. If I am capable of it or not, if I have the potential that it requires. Sometimes, it is hard to survive with a little money. You have to pay the bills; you cannot be dependent on your family and friends forever. I am a very positive person, but I lost my hope a lot of times. It felt like I should quit all of this. Before I got a call for Aakhri Sach, I had entirely decided that I should quit acting. I am also a Japanese Language expert, I decided to leave for Japan and work there. I thought I should at least work for a few years and take a break from acting. This would’ve helped my family to settle financially and then I could come back and restart acting. I’m glad I got a call for Aakhri Sach and I dropped my plan. My father used to say, “Always be hopeful, and being patient is fruitful”. He used to tell me if I ever felt hopeless, I should be calm and pray because “Umeed par duniya kaayam hai”. To fight the situation was something he always taught me.
Who is your dream director?
My dream directors are Rajkumar Hirani, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Nitesh Tiwari, Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Sukumar, Atlee, S.S. Rajamouli, Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, James Cameron and many others. I wish to work with all of them and prove myself. This is what I pray for and one day I will work with them
Who are your role models in the industry or out of it? And why?
My role model will always be my dad. Whatever I am today is because of my dad. He has always taught me to never give up and always keep working hard. Whatever I have achieved as an actor is because of my father. God tests us in many ways but we should never lose hope and keep working, I have learned this from my dad.
What were your favourite shows or films before you became an actor?
In my case, it’s a bit different as I didn’t have the exposure to watch TV so, I didn’t watch any shows. But later, when I started watching it, the films that I loved were Mother India, Pyaasa, and Mughal-E-Azam. These are such wonderful films and made me wonder how they are made. I then also got exposed to Hollywood films. The first Hollywood film I watched was Titanic and I watched other films as well. Some of my favourite Hollywood films are The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Kill Bill, and many others.
What else are you currently working on?
Currently, I am doing a film called Ishqaniya. It’s made from the words ‘Ishq’ and ‘Kahaaniya’. I am playing a lead role in the film. 50 percent shooting has been finished and the rest will be started in the month of September. Also, I am working on two South films.