Ali Badliwala who played terrorist in Neerja calls himself lucky

An interior designer by profession, Ali wanted to be an actor since he was nine.

It’s not often that one gets as lucky as Ali Badliwala, who just made his debut in the hugely appreciated Neerja that just hit the theatres. An interior designer by profession, Ali wanted to be an actor since he was nine.

He did his diploma in interior designing and went on to assist his father. During the course of his work, he made an appearance in an ad film with Saif Ali Khan that was co-incidentally produced by Ram Madhvani, the director of Neerja.

Ali, who plays one of the four terrorists in the film, was the first of them to get a call for an audition. And he was also the first to be finalised for the part.

Ali says, “The casting director got my pictures and called me for the audition. This was the first call I got for an audition and I got selected. I did a workshop for almost two months to learn and unlearn how to load and unload guns, use a grenade and so on. As I was to fumble with the guns in some scenes, the unlearning part was more difficult.”

Someone who is actually a survivor of this Pan Am flight told him how he resembles one of the real terrorists who had hijacked the plane.

“An AD’s mother is a survivor from the flight and when she came on the sets, she told me how I actually resembled a terrorist who was a hijacker on the flight. She told me that he was the youngest hijacker and how the passengers were talking about why somebody so young would do something like this.”

There were times when Ali would be apprehensive about the role. “I used to constantly look for validation as this was my first film. When I shared my apprehension with Ram he told me to not get intimidated by what was around me. He said, ‘You are good, just believe in yourself’. After that day, I became confident,” Ali says.

The actor who stays right opposite Regal Cinema (in Mumbai) always wanted his film to play there. And now when he opens his window he can see the poster of Neerja hung outside the theatre.

“I always looked at Regal and thought to myself that one day my film will be shown here. Today is the day. I will be going to watch the film at Regal alone today,” he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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