Stepping into the world of Bollywood was no cakewalk for model and actor Mir Sarwar. Although he was quite popular in his hometown Kashmir, Mir had to start from scratch when he moved to Mumbai. For survival, he took up small roles in movies to keep himself motivated and to digest the fact that despite being a popular face in his native place, he had to pursue his acting career as a newcomer.
With hard work and dedication, Mir somehow managed to meet the right people in the industry. After getting recognition for his small role in Bajrangi Bhaijaan wherein he played the role of Munni's father, Mir went on appear in movies like Jolly LLB 2, Kedarnath and now Akshay Kumar starrer Kesari which is based on the historic Battle of Saragarhi in which an army of 21 Sikhs fought against 10,000 Afghans in 1897. In Kesari, he plays the role of a one of the two Pathan chiefs of Afghan named Khan Masud who fights with Ishar Singh played by Akshay Kumar.
In an exclusive interview with International Business Times India, Mir spoke at length about how he prepared for his role in Kesari, working with Akshay Kumar for the second time in a film, what he did for survival in the industry and his upcoming projects.
Tell us how did you prepare for your role in Kesari from pulling off heavy costume to acing your dialect.
We had a workshop before the shoot wherein we went through horse riding training and Pashto classes. It's a process and I went through the training and tried to be a Pathan Chief Khan Masud throughout the process. As far costume is concerned, it was a challenge to pull it off due to several reasons.
1. It was quite heavy.
2. While shooting in Summer, it was really hot and we had to go through the same. Had to drink lot of water and juice during the shoot to keep ourselves hydrated.
But I must say that the costume was amazing and the costume designer has worked in detail for the look of every character.
This is the second time you have worked with Akshay Kumar.. tell us how has been your experience working with him from Jolly LLB 2 to Kesari.
It's amazing to work with Akshay sir and he has been an inspiration for me because I also have a background of martial arts and he is known as the best action hero in Bollywood. I remember one incident when I watched Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi, there was one kick which I saw. I practiced that for weeks and finally was able to do it. Secondly, he also came from no filmy background which inspired the actor's like me.
When I worked with him in Jolly LLB 2, I was really impressed by his time management, punctuality and discipline. You do hear those things in media but it's different when you witness it on your own.
When you shake hands with him, you realise the strength of the man by his solid grip. In one shot of Jolly, I had to hold his arm and I held him softly (as he is Akshay Kumar a star) but in the next shot he told me to hold his arm strongly without any hesitation as I had to arresting him. It was great to work with him again in Kesari, here we did spend more time between the shots. He has a great sense of humour and play pranks on the set. In Kesari got a chance to interact in between shots and came to know about his other work's and initiatives for the society.
You must be quite popular in your hometown after you baggged your first film. Tell us how welcoming people have been towards you since we don't see many people from the valley setting their foot in Bollywood.
That's right. My first was Phantom but Bajrangi Bhaijaan released before that as both were directed by Kabir sir. I got recognition after Bajrangi Bhaijaan as it was a blockbuster and was loved by everyone.
Though because of my TV career I was quite popular back home but films gave me more popularity. I was appreciated by people and the fraternity alike. These are perks of working in a big film with a superstar Salman Khan sir. He has a huge huge following everywhere.
You have been appearing in small roles since Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Have you been struggling to get good offers?
I have taken most of the roles which were offered to me after Bajrangi Bhaijaan. I believe in visibility and being a working actor. If a person has to grow and survive in the film industry, he/she has to keep on working and fortunately most of the film's which I have done were big, no matter how big or small my role was. At times you have to work to survive so that's why I have some of the smaller films as well. There are very few projects which I haven't done because of one or the other reason.
How difficult is it for an outsider like you to find good work in the industry. Have you been meeting the right people? Did you ever sense that you have got stuck with wrong People at any point of the time?
It's not easy to get work instantly but if you have potential then I am sure you will get work as there are so many genuine people looking for the same. After spending nearly a decade in Delhi where I did modelling and theatre, I did build some contacts and was in town with them throughout even when I worked in Kashmir for two year's in serials for DD Kashmir.
When I finally shifted to Mumbai, it wasn't easy as it was a different out here. No matter how popular you are in your hometown, you have to work from the scratch here and that's what I did.
I kept on going for auditions as any newcomer will do. It took me some time to understand how things work here. Initially I did some small projects for the survival in the city and to keep myself motivated because it's not easy to accept that after being popular backhome you have to start all over again.
But I kept working towards the goal, which I still do. Fortunately I got an opportunity to work with the right people mostly. I believe you have to stay grounded to learn and grow.
Lastly, tell us about your upcoming projects.
My upcoming Film is Notebook (Salman Khan Films) which is releasing on March 29.
Hamid released this week and a film which I am excited about is Panipat with Ashutosh Gowariker sir. I have completed shooting for a web series for Amazon Prime with Raj & DK of Stree fame. I have played one of leads in a film Lihaaf with Rahat Kazmi. I am currently working on my debut Telegu Film with Gopichand as a main Antagonist.