“I have read Upanishads,” – Actor Zakir Hussain
He is a costume designer, a theatre actor, an interior decorator, a classical singer, a percussionist, a green belted taekwondo player, a poet and much more. Usually known for his negative roles the learned side of Actor Zakir Hussain stays hidden. However, this immensely versatile actor will soon be seen dispersing the Upanishadic knowledge in a serial Upanishad Ganga, produced by Chinmaya Mission and directed by Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi.
Zakir Hussain gets candid as he talks about this new serial currently running on DD. Following are some excerpts from the interview:
Tell us something about the serial Upanishad Ganga.
The serial is based on the teachings of Upanishads and has different stories that were researched and only after thorough research they were woven into a dramatic serial. The teachings of Upanishad give great many life lessons which need to be included in our daily lives as these are the stories that will enhance your human character.
How did Upanishad Ganga happen to you?
Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi and I have been friends for quite a long time. We have worked together in the past as well. Dr Dwivedi was doing this serial and he approached me with the characters that I’d be playing and being a student and a lover of comparative philosophy I instantly said yes.
What all characters do you play in this serial?
Well I have played the characters like Dara Shikhoh, Aghori Baba Avadoot ,Valmiki,Yaksha etc.
Which one of these is your favorite character?
Each character had uniqueness around it so all characters became my favorite and I enjoyed playing each one of them. But the character of Dara Shikhoh was close to my heart. The reason being till date we knew Dara Shikhoh as Auranzeb’s brother but after playing that character I realized how very learned person he was. He was a Sufi and had the urge to learn Upanishads. He was inspired by his guru Miya Mir to translate the knowledge of Upanishad’s in Persian language.
What kind of Homework / preparations you had to do for this serial?
Though the kind of characters I had to play required a lot of study to do but since I have read Upanishads and have been working on a project related to Upanishad it wasn’t much trouble for me.
Upanishad Ganga depicts the kind of era where the language would not be as easy as it is today so were dialogues or the language any problem?
Not at all! The reason being my mother tongue is Urdu and I know to read Urdu and Arabic. Also if there were any problems related to the character or the dialogues or the likes, Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi was always there to help us out.
Do you think the serial will appeal to the youth?
Well, I feel it should. Upanishad Ganga is a treasure trove of rare stories and it is definite to bring enlightenment to one’s life. However, every individual has his likes and dislikes. But from the point of view of content and making, the serial is very appeasing and much appealing.
After “Sarkar” it looks like that you and RGV have developed a great rapport, any comments on that?
The rapport was built much before Sarkar. I was playing a small role in Sriram Raghvan’s “Ek haseena thi” and during editing RGV saw that scene and called me for a role in his movie James and since then if Ramu finds any character likely to suit my personality he calls me do that role.
Apart from RGV who are your favorite directors?
I have worked with many directors and all have been very good. But working with Tigmanshu Dhulia, Sriram Raghavan, Anurag Kashyap and Ramesh Sippy is always very exciting.