Zaid Khan:I met over 150 directors across India for my launch
In this candid interview with CE, the young actor explains why he stays distant from politics and is fascinated by cinema and the journey to his debut Banaras
Zaid Khan, who comes from a family of politicians, chose to take a different path and forayed into the world of cinema. Is cinema his entry point to politics? He instantly declines. “My family including my father (Zameer Ahmed), who is an MLA does not want me to enter politics. My father is particular that politics as a career should end with him. Since childhood, I never got inclined toward politics, nor am I hungry for power. Growing up, I was always happy being associated with art. I would often participate in dance and plays in school, and I enjoyed the claps, applause, and appreciation they got me. So I decided that cinema is my future,” says Zaid Khan, who is all set to test the waters with his debut Banaras, which will be out this Friday.
“The question of my political entry has often popped up. But let me reiterate, I have no such interest. I don’t have to get into films, and then make a transition to politics. I am capable of standing in the next election and winning it. However, I never had that aspiration. I always want to be in the cinema. If things go south, I have my family business to look after,” he adds.
Despite having the resources and influence, he took seven years to choose the right project and director for his debut. “Like every actor, I was looking for the right kind of director, who can give me a good launch. But fortunately or unfortunately, every time I got a good director I didn’t get a good story or vice versa. If both were okay, there will be call sheet issues.”
The debutant had to face a few roadblocks in the form of unreliable creators before Banaras happened. “I had a handful of filmmakers, who knew about my political background and wanted to use it for their gains. I wondered, if this is my case, I can just imagine the plight of young talents, who have no financial support or background,” says Zaid Khan, adding, “I’ve met more than 150 directors across India for my launch, but it didn’t work with anyone until director Jayathirtha came by. He was honest and dedicated. He is a director who explains the scenes to his actors like a baby. His experience comes from a theatre background, and he knows to handle people. Jayathirtha has given me the best launch with Banaras,” he says.
Zaid, who has got trained in acting classes for a year at Anupam Kher Institute and later got trained in Bengaluru for about 8 months. He later travelled with director Jayathirtha and has dedicated over two years to Banaras. “I have given my sweat and blood to the film, and have ticked all the checklist presented by the director,” says the actor, who is happy to for the encouragement from people, during the promotional rounds. “They compliment my looks, and I think it’s God’s gift. They like the rushes of the film. The latest song, Belakina Kavithe has also fetched me more female fan following, and I’m thankful for all the love.”
Zaid has gone for an out-of-the-box story for his debut as Banaras deals with time travel despite being a romance at the core. “Banaras is a risky project. It will either give me a good head start or end my career. Secondly, I have to prove to my family, and also to the entire Karnataka, that I’m here
to stay. Above all for any debutant, that first film determines his sustainability. At present, I’m confident about Banaras, and that it will take me places, and there is a good vibe about the film,” Zaid states with confidence.
Zaid calls Banaras a mysterious love story. “It is a very fresh and experimental film, especially the second half is sure to give the audience goosebumps. That’s one of the reasons we made it a Pan-Indian film.” He adds that working in the film was a unique kind of experience. “I have been visiting temples since my childhood. I studied in a Hindu school, participated in Ganesha and Holi festivals, and attended poojas at schools and friends’ places. However, everything in Varanasi was new to me, especially the rituals. Initially, it was difficult for every one of us. But later, we got used to it. Every evening after the shooting, we would attend aarti puja. Seeing dead bodies all over shook our minds and soul. They always say that Banaras or Varanasi is a place for old people. But I feel every youth should visit Banaras, as it will help us to understand life better.”
Zaid shares that his confidence lies in the content and wants his film to do the talking. “Cinema doesn’t question the religion or language of an artiste, it only entertains.” He feels that the success of the film will benefit his next projects. “The success of Banaras will help me overgrow the image of my political background and prove me as an actor.”
Banaras features him opposite Sonal Monteiro. It also consists of actors like Sujay Shastry, and Achyuth Kumar, among others playing important roles. The film’s music is composed by Ajaneesh Loknath and has Advaitha Gurumurthy as the cinematographer.
Zaid already has two to three projects in the lineup and plans to kickstart the project as early as possible. However, the actor wants to share details of the projects, post the release of Banaras.