'The Family Man' Actor Shahab Ali's Next Goal: Buying A House

"Abbu used to repair watches and sell kites, so even as a kid I'd help him after school," said Shahab Ali

'The Family Man' Actor Shahab Ali's Next Goal: Buying A House

Actor Shahab Ali played the role of Sajid in 'The Family Man'

Actor Shahab Ali says playing the role of Sajid in The Family Man changed his life. In an interview with Humans of Bombay, Shahab Ali revealed that his father died when he was 21 and had just gotten into Delhi University. "Abbu used to repair watches and sell kites, so even as a kid I'd help him after school. And then when I was in 9th grade, I opened my own kite shop," Shahab said. "But Abbu's demise shook us."

His father left behind a family of four, and as the eldest sibling, all responsibilities fell on Shahab. He would attend college during the day and work at his kite stall in the evenings. 

In college, Shahab was introduced to theatre and found his true calling. He knew he wanted to act, he was happiest on stage. At the same time, he realised he needed to support his family, and so took up a job in journalism. "But when I was on the field, interviewing people, I realized it wasn't my calling; I just wanted to act!" he said.

Shahab then went to his mother and told her he wanted to pursue acting seriously, assuring her he would quit for a regular 9 to 5 job if nothing worked out in three years. After two attempts, he got a scholarship to the National School of Drama and, for the next three years, gave everything to acting.

Two roles brought him some much-needed stability. "I bagged a role in India's first musical Zangoora; I was ecstatic! And soon after, another musical, Mughal-e-Azam followed," said Shahab. He was able to buy his mother the gold bangles she had sold to pay for her husband's treatment.

"That day, we both cried. And then, I shut my kite stall. It was bittersweet; that stall had helped me in my days of distress, but at the same time it felt like the beginning of a new chapter."

Shahab, though he wanted to be an actor, did not go to Mumbai until his responsibilities in Delhi had been fulfilled. When his sister got married and his brother completed his education, he moved to Mumbai and attended an audition for The Family Man.

"The audition went well, but I waited a month for a response," said Shahab. He was constantly on edge during that month, but it was all worth it when he received the script with his name on it. "I was thrilled," says the actor. 

The show went on to become a huge success and gave Shahab the opportunity to work with Manoj Bajpayee, but he says that true validation for him came with the twinkle in his mother's eye every time someone praised his performance. 

Shahab Ali is currently living in a rehabilitation colony with his mother, and his next goal is to buy a house. 

"I still get rejected, but my mantra is simple, 'I have nothing to lose, but so much to gain.' And that's gotten me here today," he says.

Shahab Ali's interview has been hailed as inspiring by fans on social media.

"Congratulations...very inspiring..you worked so hard and never gave up," wrote one Facebook user.

"Your performance in Family Man was outstanding. Best wishes to you on your path towards fine acting!" another said.

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