Shaheen Siddique is a known name in Mollywood circles, thanks partly to the fact that his father is the very talented actor Siddique. To his credit, the young actor has never used his father as a crutch to prop his career, and instead bid his time to take the plunge. Shaheen has been acting in films since 2015, when he made his debut with the Mammootty starrer Pathemari, where he played the legend’s son. Since then, he has acted in seven films and even won an award for a short film, in which he played the lead. Finally, Shaheen has turned a hero on the big screen through Oru Kadathanadan Katha directed by Peter Sajan.
“Oru Kadathanadan Katha is a very simple story with a practical story-line that unfolds in a day. I sensed an honest approach to the film, which spoke of the struggles of a young man, told in a thrilling format,” begins Shaheen, explaining why he decided to take up the film. He adds, “I felt it was a small film that I could hold in my hands and carry forward!” Shaheen sought the opinion of his father and friends who univocally agreed that the script was a solid one.
That is how Shaheen turned to Shanu, who, after completing engineering studies, fails to get a job matching his qualifications and ends up working for a courier company, which he finally quits. “He does not have any big dreams and his family consists of his mother and his sister. At a crucial point in his life, Shanu needs a large amount of money and he turns to the hawala route to achieve that.” Shanu proceeds from Kochi to Kozhikode with a huge amount and the film is all about the events that happen in that single day.
Shaheen also got the opportunity to act alongside Gajini fame villain Pradeep Rawat. The young actor talks about Pradeep’s acting methodology that impressed him. “The Malayalam dialogues were explained to Pradeep sir in English. After understanding his dialogues, he would write some Malayalam words in Hindi and then take time memorising them. He would also enquire about the correct modulation and pronunciation of the words and proceed with his take.” Shaheen reveals that there was nothing menacing about Pradeep in real life and that he appreciated the work of every artiste in the film.
Shaheen is no doubt thrilled about his lead role, but it has been a wait of four long years, during which he played character roles. Did he ever feel disappointed? Shaheen answers candidly, “There are bad days when you feel low. See, I have never aspired to be a hero. On the contrary, I always wanted to do roles that would win the appreciation of my audience. So, I need to keep on working and I am happy that I got this offer and consider myself lucky.”
Yes, lucky is what comes to mind when one talks of industry kids, born with the proverbial silver spoon and an easy shot at an acting career. Shaheen, while agreeing, states, “When you belong to the industry, you have easy access to actors and technicians. I could walk up to them and introduce myself.” That is one side of the coin, as Shaheen reveals that his stint at acting schools has exposed him to immensely talented actors who have not made the cut and that he considers himself blessed.
The weight of expectations is also a Damocles’ sword hanging over his head, and one he is well aware of. “I have a responsibility to match up to the quality of talent that my father has. My father, though not a superstar, is a very good performer who excels in character roles. I too started off playing character roles. I would have faced major pressure if I was launched in a grand manner, but now the audience is acquainted with me and I just go with the flow.”
Talking of acting schools, Shaheen fine tuned his acting at Act Lab in Kochi, which is where he realised his shortcomings as an actor. “I had stage fear, my voice was not strong and my body was stiff,” he recalls mentioning that his training there made him aware of his minus points. “At the end of the day, nobody can teach you acting; you can lose your inhibitions and rid yourself of blocks that stop you from acting.”
Shaheen later attended Anupam Kher’s acting school, Actor Prepares, which rounded him even further and helped him perform better. Even today, Shaheen is part of an initiative called Collateral Studio, comprising working actors, where classes are held and lessons imparted.
Talking of his future projects, Shaheen shares that he is partof Jude Anthany Joseph’s 2403 ft and will also be seen in an upcoming web series....