Taking the leap

Telly talk

Sehban Azim is the name behind Dr Yuvraj Oberoi in the hit serial Dill Mill Gaye. He has also worked as a model and his print campaigns include Indigo Nation, Levi’s Strauss and Croma, among many others.

He has also been part of TV campaigns for TVS Victor GLX, Haier, Makemytrip.com and Amul Cool Café. He has also acted in a short film for FTII — Stations, directed by Emmanuel Quindo Paolo, which won the 2009 National Award for ‘Best Short Fiction’. He is now all set to make his big screen debut in the movie 64 Panne. With so much on his plate, this young actor looks back on his journey.

“I believe anyone who loves cinema must have once thought to associate himself/herself with it in some way or the other, but the film industry is so uncertain that few among them get the courage to take such a step to pursue it as a career. I had similar thoughts. As a kid, I always loved cinema. The idea of storytelling in an audio-visual form was always exciting and interesting, but I didn’t have the courage to follow it for long.

So I completed my studies, took a full-time job to secure my future. But after four years of working as a computer engineer, I realised that that was not what I wanted to do. So I finally mustered the courage to take up acting as a career,” Azim says candidly. He got his first break through a print campaign for a clothing brand — In-excess — which he still remembers vividly being thrilled and nervous about, at the same time. His stint with television was in the show Dill Mill Gaye. “I thoroughly enjoyed the show, especially my character, as it was layered with different emotions and had a graph to it. The crew and co-actors were also perfect,” he says.

His upcoming movie 64 Panne is a thriller. “I’m playing the protagonist Arjun, a young college boy who grew up as an orphan. It’s a character which has both complexity and insecurity. It touches today’s youth on one side and the dark side of humanity on the other. I don’t think the topic has ever been explored in Indian cinema before. I’m not allowed to talk much about the film yet, but all I can say is it was the topic which lured me to sign up for it. We have already shot 70 percent of the film and 30 percent is yet to happen,” he explains. Quiz him on other movie offers and he promises that he will be seen much more on the big screen.

Speaking on the differences in acting for TV and for movies, he says: “In movies you get so much time to rehearse, practice, do workshops, etc. In TV soaps, the script is usually given on the same day of the shoot. Timings are very hectic for TV soaps as well, as they try to finish as much as possible everyday,” he explains. “TV may not be as grand as movies, but it has more viewership. After doing a TV show, I realised that the reach of a TV channel is on a higher level — a farmer who has never been to a theatre can still watch your soap everyday on the telly,” Azim elaborates.

Performing arts is something that was always on his mind. “However, I have a few more things on my to-do list. One of them is true-blood travelling, not like a tourist. I want to go to a city and live there for sometime, pick up some small job, connect with the soul of the city and the people and then move ahead to another city,” he says. Another aspect that is unknown about him is that he grew up in a family of writers, painters and poets.

“My mother is a writer with a PhD, and my father, whom I lost last year and miss every single day, was a painter and technical writer. So I’ve grown up listening to stories, making sketches, paintings and weaving stories. Recently, I’ve started writing poetry in Urdu and English, and will be starting a blog soon. I might publish it once I have a collection,” he reveals.

Here’s wishing him all the best.

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