If he makes no bones about losing the lead role in "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" because of his "long hair and beard", a contrast to a "sophisticated Wall Street guy", Imaad Shah is equally frank in admitting that his actor father Naseeruddin Shah is his "idol".
Son of Naseer and Ratna Pathak, the actor-musician features in the Mira Nair-directed "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" as a Pakistani student. Based on Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid's novel of the same name, the film, releasing in India May 10, has Riz Ahmed in the lead role.
"Initially, I was called to play the lead role. The director loved the audition, but not my appearance. The lead character looks like a Wall Street guy, sophisticated American. And I have long hair and beard. My personality didn't go well with the character," Imaad told IANS in a telephonic interview.
He added: "So, she (Nair) specially created my character named Sameer, a Pakistani student. He is originally not mentioned in the book."
The toughest part was to master Urdu and Punjabi for the film.
"I had read the novel when it was first released. So I was aware of the storyline. But learning Urdu and Punjabi was difficult," he said.
Imaad first featured on the big sceen in his father's 2006 directorial debut "Yun Hota To Kya Hota" and later played an important role in "Dil Dosti Etc". But neither worked at the box office.
Talking about future, the actor is "open to do all kinds of roles".
"I won't restrict myself. I won't mind working in big budget or low budget films, the character should be powerful. So far it's been a learning experience. It's fun and challenging."
Not such a big name in filmdom, the youngster looks up to his dad for inspiration.
Imaad shares a "friendly relationship" with his dad and "discusses everything with him". "We both respect each other's view points and opinions. I owe everything to him."
"My dad is a self-made man. And I truly admire him for that. He often gives wonderful ideas. He knows the craft. And he is my idol," added Imaad, who is associated with two music bands - The Pulp Society and Madboy Mink.
Imaad, who has been into theatre and music since college days, says The Pulp Society is a five-member band and "we play punk, disco music".
"We are working on an album, which we will hopefully release this year. Apart from this, I am member of Madboy Mink. It's a two-member band started by me and Saba Azad. We play electro funk. We will soon be touring for gigs."
Talking about his music idols, he said he listens to all kinds of music. "I like old funk, disco, jazz, qawwali and urdu poetry," he added.
When it comes to theatre, he works with Motley Theatre Company, founded by his father. He did plays like "Katha Collage" and "Waiting for Godot".
In terms of movie projects, he has Kaushik Mukherjee's Bengali movie "Tasher Desh".
"The film has many actors. It's also co-produced by Anurag Kashyap and Overdose Art Pvt. I am happy with the way my career is moving. I feel no one has a control over success."
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