Actor Zakir Hussain's filmography is a visual proof of his incredible hold over craft and versatility. Setting up milestones with each one of his roles, the authentic actor has his bags quite full. Zakir Hussain got in touch with International Business Times India, to talk about the most challenging part of being in the industry, the phase without work and lots more.

Zakir Hussain
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You have been in the industry for several decades now. What is tough - struggling before the debut or not receiving challenging parts after it?

I feel there is struggle in everything in life. Getting first work in the industry is a struggle, to sustain your performance and keep getting challenging roles is another struggle. For those who make a mark with their debut, to keep impressing with further roles is a struggle. To justify the expectation the makers have from you is also a kind of struggle. I believe it is a never ending cycle.

Has there ever been a phase in these decades where you were left without any work? How do you deal with such phases?

There have been phases where I didn't get work. It is important in those times to not let the frustration get the better of you. I remember once during my early days in the industry, I had not received work for almost six months. That was the longest phase for me without work. I have been getting plenty of work for the last decade but there are a few gaps too. Sometimes because of the lockdown, other people getting sick, shooting schedule changing etc. But I don't let it impact me at all.

A role of yours that will always remain close to you.

Once I have played a character, I move on. I don't carry it forward with me. There are months when you live and breathe that character. One thinks of how to make the role better, how to improvise, how to meet the expectations the makers have from you. There are several roles of mine which will remain close to my heart like in Johnny Gaddar, Shagird, Paan Singh Tomar, Sarkar, Andhadhun etc.

Do you take up roles that you don't personally identify with but you know they would work well?

There are several factors, I feel, that come into play when I choose a character or a role to play. Sometimes you feel like taking up a role to work with a particular director you have not worked with before, sometimes the script bowls you over. And sometimes even when you want to play some other actor's part, the director doesn't see you in that. So it is a constant process of striking a balance between mind and heart.

Do you often get confused for Ustad Zakir Hussain?

Many a times. (Laughs!) People often confuse me for the tabla player Ustad Zakir Hussain and there have been many funny instances too. I remember I was relatively new and journalist called to interview me. I told her I am not that Zakir Hussain but the actor. So she told me, "To aap hi interview de dijiye (so you only give interview)" There was another time when a female journalist called and said she wanted to take my interview. I didn't realise it was for the other Hussain. Then she asked about tabla. And since I know a bit of playing tabla I said "yes, I know a bit of playing." She thought I was being modest and started interviewing. It was then that I had to tell her I wasn't who she thought I was. So such things keep happening and make for a laugh too. 

Tell us about your upcoming projects.

My upcoming film is – Flight which will release on April 2. It is going to be an exciting new plot for viewers. On Eid, I will have Satyamev Jayate releasing. The second season of Chacha Vidhayak Hain Hamare is also going to come soon. There are a couple of web-series lined up for release as well. There are many projects I am currently shooting for which would soon be released. So I have my bag quite full.