Jameel Khan may not be a household name, but the theatre personality was busy balancing his work on stage with minor comic roles in Hindi films till a few months ago. But then a casual meeting with Manoj Bajpai put his life on a different course. A call from Anurag Kashyap followed soon that landed him in the filmmaker’s recent coal mafia saga and the rest as they say is history.
After working with Naseeruddin Shah in theatre for almost a decade, Jameel has been signed for two forthcoming plays based on O Henry’s short stories, adapted by Gulzar. And apparently, while he was rehearsing for his part, he got, in his own words, ‘the biggest compliment of my life’ from none other than Gulzar.
Jameel says, “In one of the plays, I play a motormouth barber. After watching me practice my lines, Gulzar saab asked me, ‘Kya khandani hajaam ho?’ I always wanted to work in Gulzar saab’s films but since he doesn’t direct anymore, I thought this is the finest opportunity available.”
Used to playing smaller roles in Bollywood films, Jameel decided to break away from the usual by essaying Ashghar, the violent sidekick to Manoj Bajpai’s volatile character in Kashyap’s gangster project. In fact, Bajpai was quite instrumental in Jameel bagging the role.
“During a casual meet, Manoj informed me that he has signed for this film. A few days later, I got a call from Anurag asking me whether I’d like to be part of his project,” and adds with a smile, “I know who to thank for this call!”