Shorted | Watch the best Short Films from across India
The actor opens up about homosexuality, acting and how the portrayal of Parvez Syed in Raazi is the first of its kind in Bollywood.

August 28, 2019

By Shorted

Shishir Sharma on Homosexuality and Playing a Pakistani in Raazi

The actor opens up about homosexuality, acting and how the portrayal of Parvez Syed in Raazi is the first of its kind in Bollywood.

When I was told the story (of Tera Jaisa Yaar Kahan) I was very interested because it was about an age group which most people don’t associate homosexuality with. Everything is in the closet, nothing comes out unless it’s probed. And when I found out that Satish Kaushik was going to play the other gentleman, I was even more interested because I had never worked with him. In the film fraternity, one knows everyone by face, but has not worked with most of them. When I started working with Satish, it so happened that we clicked on the very first dialogue. It became a lot, lot easier for me to carry out that kind of a character because sometimes if you don’t have a comfort level with the people you are working with, it becomes slightly more difficult to do a complex role.

When the film was done and we saw it, I thought it was beautiful in the way it touched upon a topic that most people consider taboo. Of course there is the whole development about Section 377 now, but prior to that, there were a lot of people who didn’t even want to engage in a conversation about the LGBTQIA. I thought this was a pretty important film to do in spite of all the taboos, skeletons that probably would come out sooner or later.

Playing a Pakistani Brigadier in Raazi

I don’t understand why people equate Pakistanis and Indians. There is a black sheep in every society, so why generalise that every Pakistani or every Indian is a bad man? Yes, this family (in Raazi) was to be portrayed in a positive light. No Pakistani has ever been shown in the manner that Meghna ji (Meghna Gulzar) adopted for it.

I found the process of approaching this character extremely interesting. At some point or the other, when I was told I would be doing the role, I felt very, very elated and happy. An actor learns every day, you meet new people, you try and incorporate their ideas, they incorporate your feelings. We also went through a number of rehearsals, diction sessions because Meghna ji lays a lot of stress on expression and diction. After that, we had a reading session with the entire cast, a process that she employs with every film that she directs.

The USP of the film is that we were all very cohesive and treated each other as family members. Not a single person in that household was a stranger to the other. She (Gulzar) made it a point that everybody was part of it, not even one person was distanced from the other. This was one of the many things that made Raazi a milestone film for India as well as for me, and I am very, very happy about it.