'This phase of my life will never be back'

Stylish actor

'This phase of my life will never be back'

Think of a tall, dark and handsome hunk who made it big on television and Shabbir Ahluwalia’s name is bound to tantalise your thoughts. Fondly remembered as Rishi Garewal or the baddie of Kahiin To Hoga, Shabbir challenged not just the rules of television but also graduated to films, ahead of his contemporaries. Now on a break to enjoy the initial years of his married life, Shabbir speaks to Metrolife about life and living.

While most think that he is a born actor, Shabbir never thought of acting as a career. “I always wanted to play sports so when I joined television, it didn’t bother me what roles I would be playing – hero, anti-hero or villain.” He broke norms and became one of the few villains who were loved by audiences. “When I started, there were a lot of norms including that a hero should be clean shaven. But I have always broken norms and I am happy and fortunate for the kind of roles that I was offered because they suited my personality.”

A persona that he “worked hard on” and maintained even in films like Shootout at Lokhandwala and Mission Istanbul. “The look has worked for me in both hero and villainous characters.” But his negative roles have been more. Is it a conscious choice? “I look for a role that has an edge. Be it a psychotic or an obsessed character, when I read the script, I try to find something that the audience will lap up. I don’t look for hero-centric characters but choose something that excites me because I know that if it excites me then it will excite my audiences too.”

Then why this sudden break from the excitement of acting? “I want to do more in terms of acting but I also want to make my own shows. I am enjoying being a producer,” says Shabbir whose production company is backing the fantasy drama Savitri on Life OK. “Producing is a more difficult job than being an actor and involves more time and stress,” he laughs, adding that his priority has changed post marriage. “This phase of my life will never be back. So I need time to travel the world and do other things. I thus decided to shift my focus from acting to production. Once Savitri settles down, I will start acting again.”

While his fans wait for him to resume acting and anchoring, Shabbir indulges in playing sport and was part of the recently concluded Celebrity Cricket League. “When I started my career, my wishlist was very small. I never thought about what I want to do in my life. Things just kept happening and I got to things that I like to do. I have acted, I am producing and I am also playing cricket and football. Everything has fallen into place and I have got more than what I expected. There is no formula for it but Inshallah I hope I keep getting it!” We wish the same.

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