College Boy to Gay Man: Saqib Saleem Can Play Many Roles With Ease

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Saqib Saleem Main coverIt speaks of a tremendous growth and an enviable career arc, for a young actor to push the boundaries, and attempt to shatter the typecast, within his first three films. Young Saqib Saleem surely is a Bollywood talent to watch out for.

Born on 8 April, 1988, the 25-year old actor had humble beginnings in Delhi. Born Saqib Saleem Qureshi, the young boy’s father is a restaurateur who runs a chain of restaurants across the city. He and his sister were bitten by the film bug from a very young age, and though Saqib assisted his dad as a teenager, he had no interest in the family business.

Saqib began modelling and his work brought him to Mumbai. Though his father insisted Saqib stay on in the capital, and earn an MBA degree, Saqib’s heart was set on the glamour industry. He was cast for big brands like Pepsi, Lays, Tata Docomo, Bar One, KFC, Sprite and Airtel, among others.

His modelling assignments caught the attention of designer Varun Bahl, who secured him an audition at Y-Films, the youth division of YRF. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Saqib charmed the casting director at Y-Films, to bag his very first debut film, Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge. The 2011 film was a moderate success at the Box Office, but more importantly, got Saqib Saleem noticed by many from the industry. Starring in a college set-up romantic comedy could have taken Saqib down the conventional route, but it didn’t.

His second release was the rib-tickling Mere Dad Ki Maruti, in which Saqib starred alongside veteran television star   Ram Kapoor. What was heartening to note was that Saqib not only held his own in front of the giant talent of Kapoor, but also displayed an enviable comic timing. Saqib was, in every sense of the word, the hero of the film.

From playing the college-going loafer in both his debut films, Saqib then did the unthinkable. He picked up a role meant for a much more seasoned actor, dropped all his inhibitions, and played an overtly gay man in Karan Johar’s short story in the anthology film – Bombay Talkies. His role of a homosexual, infatuated by his co-worker’s husband, required much gumption to carry off, and carry it off he did.

Saqib’s bravery was rewarded amply, when audiences showered their blessings on the young hero. His role won him many accolades from within the industry, and from audiences in general too. So much so that Saqib bagged another interesting project, Hawa Hawaai.

In the film, Saqib plays a skating coach, who coaches street children and brings them glory. It is another off-beat role, requiring much guts and bravado, to carry an entire film on his shoulders. But Saqib is just like his elder sister and Bollywood heroine Huma Qureshi he has proved that he will do whatever it takes to display the talent he has been blessed with.