Warina Hussain on Salman Khan, debuting opposite Aayush Sharma and life after LoveYatri
She may not be too certain about her future but Loveyatri actress, Warina Hussain is living a dream. Although she says this phase has come after years of struggle and uncertainty, the Afghanistan-born model-turned-actor credits no one but herself. In an exclusive chat with Firstpost, the actress talks about her big break, facing rejection, her mentor Salman Khan's piece of advice that pushed her to work hard and life after Loveyatri.
When did you first get acquainted with Bollywood?
Bollywood is quite popular in Afghanistan. My grandfather used to watch Hindi movies. In fact, there is one theatre in Kabul which has now shut down but till today a huge cut-out of Amitabh Bachchan is put up there. I have seen quite a few Bollywood films and I have three favourite actresses – Rekha, Sridevi and Madhuri. If you ask me about my favourite heroes, since I have worked with SKF (Salman Khan Films), I will obviously mention Salman Khan. My mom is also a huge Salman fan and I remember both of us crying while watching Tere Naam. It was a powerful performance.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your past and your journey so far
I was born in Afghanistan but lived there only for a year or so. We have lived in countries like Russia, Uzbekistan and finally my mom chose to settle in India as it is a neighbouring country with better opportunities. I was in my early teens when we shifted to Delhi. Because of family pressure and financial reasons, I couldn’t continue college. I wanted to study fashion designing but that couldn’t happen, so I joined a designer boutique as a sales girl. However, due to limited growth, I started modelling and while doing so, I shifted to Mumbai. I do not have any other qualifications so I had no choice but to stay in this field. I took up acting and dance classes and started giving auditions. I began by shooting a saree catalogue.
How tough is it for an outsider to crack films?
You have to stand in queues for audition. I faced a lot of rejection. I must have made rounds of Aaram Nagar (the hub of film studios in Mumbai) several times now. But I still believe I have been lucky. Life has taught me to be persistent. You’ve got to believe in yourself. I’m self-made and proud of my journey.
I learnt about the Being Human app and decided to send my selfie introduction. Salman saw it but the call for audition came from Mukesh Chhabra’s office. But for the longest time I didn’t know the production house. To maintain secrecy, I was given a blank script and I didn’t know who was the director or producer of this project was. It was much later, when they finally shortlisted the girls that I got a call to meet the director and the actor. I was given two scenes to audition — one was with a boy, supposedly Aayush (Sharma, her co-star and Salman’s brother-in-law), and another one with a father. I was told that I would have to a read with the actor and the director and that is how I met Aayush and Abhiraj (Minawala, the director). The first meeting happened at Aayush’s place along with Arpita (Aayush's wife and Salman's sister). We did a lot of reading, dance rehearsals, Hindi tests and finally Aayush said we should meet Salman. I was a bit frightened but he told me to relax. Salman had already liked my auditions and just like that, I was on board.
Was being in front of the camera challenging?
I was very confident in front of the camera but there were a few challenges. I have never been trained in any dance form. Language was another challenge because Hindi is not my first language. I had to learn my lines and emote as well and doing so in my second language was tough. Dari is my first language. However I took up diction classes and now my Hindi is pretty good.
This is essentially Aayush’s launch. Did you ever think you may not get as much prominence as him?
When I came on board, initially, I was feeling that way. I was looking at it only as a project that I was being cast in. Later on, I was told that it was not only Aayush’s launch but mine too and therefore, I must take it seriously. I was repeatedly told that we were launching three careers. Whenever I would get late, Salman would tell me to put my heart, mind and soul into the project because it would make three careers. I really took that advice to heart. Even Arpita was very involved in the project. She, too, made me feel like I was also making my debut.
What’s been the biggest takeaway?
I had this perception that actors led a cool life but now I realise how huge it is. You have to live that. Now when I step out, I am so conscious of the way I am looking. Am I looking good? Is my hair in place? Are my clothes, my make-up good? My life has changed completely. I used to think that an actor’s life is limited to movies but now I understand how difficult it is. I don’t belong to a big family. Nobody in my family has got any kind of recognition or fame. Now people know my name; they recognise me. Earlier, I would just get into an auto rickshaw, or walk on the streets in the morning having bun maska with head phones on, but now I can’t do all that.
So far, I am a clueless about what will happen. I don’t even know the kind of roles I should choose going forward, or what will be good for my career. I am not an Indian girl but I hope the audience accepts me. I have worked so hard to come here. I would love to continue.
Updated Date: Oct 07, 2018 18:01:50 IST
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