Umair Khan is handsome, charismatic and hard-working: These three elements are the most pivotal for a potential superstar.
Plus, being a trained dancer at Shiamak Davar International, it is a given that Umair knows how to dance like a true virtuoso.
But not only that, Shiamak’s international academy has been a platform for many successful actors we know today including Shahid Kapoor, Sushant Singh Rajput and of recent, Ishaan Khatter.
In a candid chat with me, Anuj Radia, Umair Khan opens up on his journey of pursuing a career in the performing arts.
You are born and bred in Mumbai, with a passion for Football. Tell us a bit about your background and growing up?
I’m crazy over Football. So I’ve Grown up playing a lot of sports but football always stood out. I’ve played for a few clubs over the years. It’s in my heart.
How come you decided to pursue a career in the performing arts and modelling?
Oh, I just love the spotlight and I know it has power! It gives me an opportunity to display my talent. The first time I stepped on stage, I knew this was my calling.
From what I know, your family has been quite supportive towards you. How have they encouraged you in your career?
They’re everything to me. My biggest strength. Without their support, the load is too heavy to bear all alone.
They’ve always had my back no matter what the difficulty; pushing my limits to reach my goal. I am here today thanks to them.
You are also a dance graduate from Shiamak Davar’s dance academy. Where did this journey begin from and how was this a stepping-stone for your career?
Right since the start, I’ve been blessed with awesome mentors. They have this zest and passion towards dancing. This fever naturally caught on to me.
Marzi is one of the finest teachers anyone can have. Later it led to the One Year Program which seemed like a match made in heaven.
The training received from Shiamak helped put life in perspective. Since then with the performances, shoots and seeing life behind the curtain which was so mesmerising to me, I was hooked instantly.
I found myself in the chaos.
Tell us a bit about your dance journey. Shiamak Davar has been a mentor to many successful faces in Bollywood today. What else did you learn from the maestro?
Shiamak is the best Guru ever. Whilst the technicalities of art forms, he teaches you how to be a better human being.
That stood out the most. He is approachable and always ready to help… He is a true blessing in disguise.
As glittery as it seems, the show and modelling businesses are the toughest and most cut-throat industries. What has been the biggest struggle for you?
The beginning is always the most difficult part of any journey. This industry is no stranger to the concept. Risks are the only thing certain here.
The biggest struggle for me was to gain the desired muscle form which has now become an unofficial norm.
There are several cases about issues like casting couch existing in the industry, but what’s the reality of the creative fraternity?
That is a different story now. The problem is there are a lot of people who commute to Mumbai with the same dream and sadly, people do take advantage of it.
And most of these are people work out of fake agencies. Most of them pretend to have helped the big names in this business when the reality is far from it.
They just know how to talk and take advantage of the people in their struggle and it’s just sad.
They con people with “Are you a Hard worker or a Smart worker?”
People who have come across these situations will know what I mean by it.
I’m sure you’ve also had to face a lot of rejections too and at times drawbacks can really impact or psyche and self-esteem. How did you overcome these rejections?
Faith in my consistency and the drive to reach my goal to make my passion my job. No job in the world is easy. All you need is to be patient and give your best.
Fitness for such industries is also pivotal. What particular regime do you pursue on a regular basis to maintain the chiselled look?
I love to work-out and I’m not a party person. I’m obsessed about fitness. I dedicate 5-6 days a week to this.
I stress on a lot of movement patterns, strength training, mobility drills and high-intensity conditioning workout. It helps in my overall flexibility.
I follow a Diet with a cheat meal every week so I don’t cheat on the other days. I think it’s also important to not confine oneself just to the gym as there’s cycling, playing outdoor sports and more.
How did you train yourself to become an actor? Did this come naturally from dancing?
Dancing has been my life, so it naturally helped me a lot with acting. But again Acting on its own is an art form riddled with its challenges.
I try and keep attending workshops all the time just to brush up my skills. You can never be “prepared”. It’s an endless learning process.
Who is your role model and why do you idolise them?
Oh, so many since I’ve been born into the era of Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Govinda.
Watch their movies and try to do everything they did on screen was what gave me meaning to life.
I’m a crazy Salman and Shah Rukh fan. They are the pillars of this industry. I have always admired Shah Rukh Khan’s work in particular.
He has this intellect and the way he translates it into his work is magic.
What style of projects can we look forward to seeing you in, Hopefully, a Bollywood debut in the pipeline?
I’m open to challenges and trying new roles. Hopefully one soon.
Finally, what would be your message of survival to all budding actors, dancers and models out there?
Never Stop dreaming for and working towards it. If you believe in yourself there’s really nothing that can stop you from it.
Consistency will get you the desired reward. So stop worrying about what others might say, follow your heart and the world will follow you.
It’s a dream but a practical one. Dream on!
Filme Shilmy hopes that Umair continues to pursue his dreams and ambitions. Here’s wishing him all the best in his career!
IMAGES COURTESY OF PHOTOGRAPHY BY PRASHANT SAMTANI