Salim Zaidi is a multifaceted personality as he has done theater, films, TV serials, dubbing and voice over, also RJ. Today he is busy juggling among three sets at his three serials Bhabhiji Ghar Pe Hai, Yaaro Ka Tashan and May I Come In Madam. Talking to GlamGold he shares his journey from Rampur ka Salim to BGPH’s Tillu.
— Vipul K. Shah
GG) Tell us about your background.
SZ)I am from Rampur, Uttar Pradesh. I have done my post graduation M.A. in Psychology and Mass Communication from Indira Gandhi National Open University. I lost my mother in childhood and Abba jaan (Papa) raised me and my siblings; my six elder brothers and three sisters. My family has always supported and my three sisters looked after me as my mother.
SZ)I was a good batsman playing cricket as North zone captain, but my destiny had something different for me. I was out on a duck when we played in front of the selectors. It happened twice. So I was not selected. Hence my elder brother Adil, who is working in Delhi, called me there. I worked there as a RJ for FM Gold of All India Radio to earn bread and butter on my own.
SZ)One day All India Radio executive Mr. Danish Iqbal asked me for doing theater. I told yes immediately. Then I got the opportunity to work in the play ‘Dara Shikoh’ directed by veteran director Mr. M. S. Sathyu. I played Mughal king Jahangir.
SZ)Ohh great. Applauds from the audience were the turning point in my life as that inspired me to pursue acting and I continued with theater. I did many plays like Ek Thi Amruta, Saahir Ludhiyanvi, Diploma in Corruption, Daamad Hajir Ho etc. I also got associated with IPTA for a little period. I also worked for TV serial ‘Jeena Isika Naam Hai’ which aired on DD National.
GG) What about big screen?
SZ)In 2012 I got my first film ‘Challo Driver’. Then journey continued with Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, O Teri, Trip to Bhangarh, Hai Apna Dil To Aawara, Vicky Donor.
SZ)Before the release of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. The film released on 20thJuly 2013 and I came to Mumbai just before it. Then I decided to make Mumbai my second home as Bollywood is here in this magnetic city.
GG) You also did commercials.
SZ)(with shine in the eyes) Yes. I feel so lucky to work with Superstars like Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Aamir Khan. I did KBC promo with Mr. Bachchan. My father was so happy as Bachchanji is his favorite actor. I lost him last year but he was so happy watching me with Mr. Bachchan on screen.
SZ) A lot. My character in Bhabhiji Ghar Pe Hai, Tillu, gave me recognition in real sense. People are liking my work as Tillu.
GG) Did you ever miss for not doing any acting classes?
SZ)No, not at all. By God’s grace I got work continuously. I never took training and never felt to take it. See, acting is an art which is there inside as God’s gift and destiny plays an important role. I take every opportunity to say I am thankful to director Rajan Waghdhare who gave me my first break in Mumbai for the serial Jeannie And Juju. I am also thankful to Danish Iqbal, Navin Gupta and Shashank Bali.
SZ) God is always there for me. I have a lovely family who always stand by me and support me. And especially that moment when I got out on zero in that cricket match, that was like a blessing in disguise. Actually I would say ‘Zero made me Hero in life’ because if that would’ve not happened, I would never go to Delhi and never…