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Kashmiri actor on growing up in ‘politically unstable state’

Zain Khan Durrani

By Subhash K. Jha,

Mumbai : “Kuch Bheege Alfaaz” actor Zain Khan Durrani, a Kashmiri by birth, says the worst part about growing up in a “tumultuous and politically unstable state” is that you insidiously get used to the violence around.

He made a strong impact in Onir’s latest directorial “Kuch Bheege Alfaaz” as a poetic romantic dreamer RJ with a guilty secret.

Where does this intensity on screen come from?


“I believe it’s a lot to do with the character I am asked to play. I have always been an emotional person and that got me to write the poetry I do. Maybe growing up in Kashmir does have a bearing on the emotional aspect of my personality as well,” he said.

He grew up watching movies with his father on the VCR.

“I didn’t see a movie on the big screen until ‘Swades’ in Jammu owing to the fact that there are none in Kashmir. But I think this mode of self-expression was coveted by me deep down within always,” said the actor, whose father is a doctor and mother a professor of psychology.

The Burn Hall school, Srinagar alumnus also studied at Zakir Husain Delhi College.

As a Kashmiri, what are his thoughts on the violence in the Valley and the violent times we live in?

“The worst part about growing up in a tumultuous and politically unstable state is that you insidiously get used to the violence around. Almost impermeable but scared and disconcerted within,” he said.

On bagging “Kuch Bheege Alfaaz” (KBA), he said: “It’s been a process of three years in Mumbai. I came to Mumbai by a stroke of destiny in 2014, when a random audition call landed me at the auditions of Onir’s ‘Shab’, in Delhi.”

“Onir liked my work and asked me to assist him on ‘Shab’. I spent my time learning and auditioning all of this while until Onir mentioned KBA to me and that I had to undergo auditions again with FTC (production house F The Couch) and that I did. Only when the producers liked me did Onir tell me that he always wanted me to do the role.”

He finds Onir a through professional.

“His emotional intelligence and skills are exceptional. While it’s my first movie, I was never made to feel that way. He has an in-depth approach and he includes aspects from the personal life of his actors in the characters they are portraying thereby making the process much more sustainable for his actors,” said the actor.

In the film, he is shown to have no qualms in befriending and falling in love with a girl who has a skin ailment. Would he react the same way in real life to a similar situation?

“I have come to believe that a beautiful face will wither and an intelligent mind can decay, but the soul is where the beauty resides and I want to be cherished for that and hence, I wouldn’t want any thing less than that for my loved one,” said Zain.

On his future plans, he said: “I want to be able to do a wide variety of roles. Content is the new king as it should be so the kind of work that excites me as an audience is what I’d like to be a part of as an actor as well.”


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