The dimpled faced Bengaluru boy challenged himself as he played the role of Safrini, the main antagonist in the film Neerja. Abrar Zahoor can’t get over his dream role but owes it all to Bengaluru where it all began.
The Kashmiri model who made an impact feels, “Bengaluru helped me groomed my personality and gave me the confidence for ramp and print modelling. If I had come straight to Mumbai from Kashmir, I don’t think I would have survived as it’s tough here. I felt like a star in Bengaluru, but when I came to Mumbai it was a struggle initially. I had to mould my ego and struggle alongside all the others. I’m glad it has paid off.”
After completing an advanced diploma in 3D animation and movie making from Maac, Bengaluru alongside walking the ramp, Abrar moved to Mumbai. “I enrolled into an acting course in Barry John’s school, but got this role with sheer luck. I received a call from a Kashmiri model friend who was shortlisted and recommended my name. I was auditioned by casting director Kanika Beri and got selected in the first audition. This was followed by an extensive training by Vinod, Shashi and Ismail. Ismail is a resident of Saudi Arabia so he trained us in Palestinian Arabic language and dialect. I had to undo my Hindi and learn a new language. To get the right emotions, we were not allowed to socialise or meet anyone for a couple of months so that the angst, aggression, fury and frustration showed on our faces. We also couldn’t get friendly with Sonam Kapoor as our role required us to hit, kick and slap her. Sonam didn’t throw any tantrums on the sets. We literally hit her so many times and she even got scratched, but she was a professional. I put on 10 kilos and had to wear the 14 kgs heavy ammunition belt the entire day during the shoot and during our preparation for the role,” shares the 26-year-old actor.
Confessing to how he loved the whole grind, he adds, “I wore only Pathan suits to get the real feel for a few months. We became good friends with the other terrorists who hijack the Pan Am flight — Jim Sarbh, Ali Baldiwala and Vikrant Singta. Since it was everyone’s first project, all of us put in our best effort, including Atul Kasbekar and Shanti who are first time producers,” he adds.
Abrar reveals, “We received compliments from Aamir Khan, Vidya Balan, Dia Mirza and Boman Irani on the sets. Aamir said “Aisi khaufnaak shakal to kahan se dhoond ke laye ho.” So what next we ask and he spills the beans stating, “I’ve already signed a Bollywood movie where I play a chocolate boy in a lead role. I’m working on losing all my gained weight to get an eight pack.”