Keith Gomes’s short film, ‘Shameless’, which is a commentary on the loss of human spirit due to increasing dependency on technology, was recently nominated as India’s official entry at the Academy Awards this year. ETimes got in touch with the lead actor of the film, Hussain Dalal, who, in an exclusive interview, opened up about what attracted him to the script, the reactions he received for his performance, and his career as a writer. Excerpts…
‘Shameless’ is being considered for the Oscars. How does it feel?
It’s surreal. I mean, as kids, we’ve all dreamt of being at the Oscars, but now that we have an outside chance of making the dream come true, I feel an immense sense of gratitude and excitement. I am keeping my fingers crossed!
What attracted you to the script?
I liked Keith (director); I always choose makers over subjects. They say there are only seven kinds of stories in the world, but there are infinite perspectives. And for me, the director’s perspective is of utmost importance. The way Keith saw the film really excited me and I gave my nod in the blink of an eye (smiles).
How relevant do you think the concept of the film is in today’s times?
The battle between kindness and cruelty will remain relevant till Earth has life on it. By that logic, the subject is fairly relevant.
How did you prep up for your character?
I had an instinct, which I followed. We all have friends or acquaintances, who have the qualities of the character I played; I tried to channel them for my performance.
What reactions have your performance fetched you?
I have been receiving lots of love and positivity and I appreciate it greatly.
Do you think India is yet to find a full-fledged audience for short films?
No, on the contrary, I think India is ready and has been making some wonderful short films.
You are an actor and a writer as well. What had you set out to become?
I had set out to pay rent at the beginning (chuckles)! Everything else is just survival instinct.
As clichéd as it sounds, what do you enjoy the most – writing or acting?
I enjoy both equally. You can’t ask a face which eye is its favourite, can you?
You have written for films like ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’, ‘Baaghi’, ‘Dishoom’, ‘Kalank’. Which one is close to your heart?
All the films I work on are close to my heart; I don’t love a film based on its success. They’re all my children–some strong, others weak–but I love them all equally.
How do you deal with failures?
I don’t deal with it. I take it in my stride with dignity and humility and work harder starting the next day.
There has been a significant shift in the type of content that we consume. As a writer, what do you make of it?
Times have always had a habit of changing. I think this is a fantastic time for new creators and content. The star system is not the only way to tell a story now and that has really given artists the wings they need. OTT is the future and we’re all slowly walking into it.
How do you look back at your journey in the industry so far?
I am grateful. I have met some stunning people, some kind souls, and some wonderful teachers. I am grateful and excited to learn new things.
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