Nabeel's second coming
Model turned actor Nabeel Khan, who debuted on silver screen last year with the eminently forgettable Love Mein Ghum, has high hopes and solid plans for the future as he takes on the big bad world of films
He had the guts to give the recently held Lux Style Awards a miss; that too, at a time when his career in films is yet to take off. Model turned actor Nabeel Khan, who debuted on silver screen last year with the eminently forgettable Love Mein Ghum, says the "two-bit" dance segment - as part of the 10-minute long musical tribute to the late Ahmed Rushdie - didn't excite him. "I didn't want to be just another of the many performers on the segment (Ahsan Khan, Meera, Sana, Junaid Khan, Ali Safina and Mathira)," he tells
God knows Nabeel isn't acting precious; he is only watching his every step. And, this is one lesson he has learnt the hard way.
Interestingly, even though he has said an unofficial goodbye to modeling and entered into the film world, Nabeel is aware of the fact that he still owes his star status not to Love Mein Ghum as much as to his modeling days. And, to think that Love… had him playing one of the two male leads opposite Lollywood's queen of cinema Reema Khan who was also directing the film; the other lead being Moammar Rana.
Nabeel has since been quiet on why things didn't work for him; no interviews in the media, and very few public appearances by him. But insiders know how he could have benefited from the film's (lukewarm) success but he did not. "[Because] he wasn't allowed to," tweets a Lollywood birdie, not wanting to be named lest he incurs the wrath of a few friends in the industry.
There are stories of how Nabeel wasn't given sufficient time to rehearse his lines on the sets, as a newcomer is due. "Reema would ok a scene even when I desperately wanted another take," he says, visibly miffed. "This would leave me frustrated. But I was new and didn't know the ways of the film industry, so I kept to myself."
Of course, Nabeel says, he had signed on the movie with "some great expectations." And, things actually looked very different at the outset: his one song with Reema - 'Kitni Haseen Hai Zindagi' - was initially the title of the movie itself. Watching him match steps with Reema is enough proof of the fact that this hazel-eyed, handsome young actor is 'film material', as they say.
But unfortunately for Nabeel, bigger star Momi Rana's bigger influence prevailed and, overnight, things changed. The film had a new title, Love Mein Ghum, and a brand new song, by none other than Ali Zafar, which was now to be picturised on the entire cast - Reema, Momi, Nadeem, Gia Ali, Jawed Sheikh, Rambo, Ali Saleem and Nabeel - rather than just Nabeel and Reema. It is said that Reema couldn't afford to annoy her film's stronger box-office draw (Momi!), so she hit upon a clever idea: she inked a viable financial deal with a multinational soap manufacturing company and together they produced a glam 'item number' that would be directed by ace ad film maker Saqib Malik who had earlier given Reema's sagging career a shot in the arm as Ali Zafar's swashbuckling lady in the video 'Dekha'.
Reema wanted to shoot her film's new title song a la Shahrukh Khan's Om Shanti Om track - along with a bevy of beauties from the world of fashion, TV and Lollywood. It also meant no one actor would steal the limelight away from her or her cohorts Momi, Rambo and Nadeem.
Post Love…'s release, whereas Nabeel wasn't exactly hailed as the 'next big thing' or the industry's best bet, the 25-year-old had a second chance to prove he was worth noticing when he was told about a dance performance with Reema at last year's LSA. Nabeel says he eagerly looked forward to "my first public performance" - but, again, it was not to be. "At the very last moment, I got to know that Reema had replaced me with Hasan Shehryar Yasin her favourite designer. And, the reason that was given to me was: they wanted somebody who wouldn't charge any fee. I was dumbstruck. I didn't know if I had done anything wrong by asking for remuneration."
While there is an obvious hint of bitterness as he speaks of his experience so far in the big, bad world of films, Nabeel says he has "moved on already… I am going to re-launch myself [in films] with a couple of international projects."
Up next is Shor Sharaba, a romcom, produced by Sohail Khan whose last few films have been joint ventures with Bollywood and include Nazar (with Meera in the lead), Jashn (with Humayun Saeed) and the Emran Hashmi-starrers Awarapan and Killer. Shor Sharaba will be directed by Hasnain Hyderabadwala who has recently completed work on Ya Rab with Bol-famed Manzar Sehbai in Mumbai, India. The shooting of Shor Sharaba begins in September.
Nabeel is also excited about a project by Ram Gopal Verma he has been in talks with. "I shall be signing the contract soon… It's a very interesting character; I play a mythical king, quite like what Hrithik Roshan played in Jodhaa Akbar."
There have been offers from more prestigious production houses in Bollywood also, such as Karan Johar's Student of the Year, which Nabeel turned down because "I had issues with the length of my role."
Clearly, Nabeel is not ready to settle for anything "less than the main lead!" His strongly-worded argument is, "You have to be the main character in a film, otherwise you are doomed to play second-fiddle roles all your life."