A smart act
Anchor and stage actor Hussain Kuwajerwala's career is soaring high with the Bollywood musical Zangoora the Gypsy Prince
I lost my father at a very young age and it was a major turning point as both my brother and sister became my mentors. My brother Qaeed, who is an independent film producer, is 12 years older than me and my sister, Nafisa, a doctor, is eight years older than me. They were always very encouraging about whatever I did.
At 19, when I was studying in Jai Hind College, Mumbai, I began taking part in college plays. To earn some pocket money in the summer, my brother suggested that I find work as a model. I began distributing my portfolio in Mumbai and inadvertently began neglecting my studies.
This proved to be a turning point of sorts as I couldn't appear for my examinations and lost an academic year. Initially, I was quite upset about it as I suddenly had an entire year to myself and didn't know what to do with it. So, I started scouting around for full-time work and landed a few acting assignments. I think I was destined to be an actor — though I had never considered acting as a career option.
My first big break on television came in 1998 when I bagged a major role in the serial, Aashirwad on Zee. After that I starred in other soaps including Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Krisshna Arjun and Kumkum. The character of Sumit in Kumkum earned me immense popularity and the serial went on to become a long-running one. But it left me with enough time to try out other things on the side like dancing and theatre.
The dance show, Nach Baliye, is also close to my heart as in 2007 my wife Tina and I appeared together on the show.
The biggest turning point, however, has been Zangoora the Gypsy Prince, the Bollywood musical that's playing at Gurgaon's Kingdom of Dreams. Zangoora has completed some 900 shows and has earned rave reviews. Physically, the show has been the most demanding one that I've worked on. I haven't had a background in theatre and the kind of challenge a television show has is nothing compared to a live theatre performance. Before the show began in 2010, the cast was put through five months of training that included individual and group workouts, dance classes, endurance and aerial training.