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Exclusive! Saba Azad: You have to be thick-skinned to survive in Bollywood

In an exclusive interview with OTTplay, actor-musician Saba Azad spoke at length about her understanding of Raj&DK’s upcoming web series Farzi, the ‘go crazy’ prompt she had received from the team, among other things movies and music. Read for details...

Exclusive! Saba Azad: You have to be thick-skinned to survive in Bollywood
Saba Azad

Last Updated: 09.29 PM, Feb 03, 2023


She acts, she sings and ‘boy’... does she know how to speak her mind like no one's listening?!

One half of the electro funk duo Madboy/Mink, Saba Azad was born into a theatre family but she has embraced both acting and music with open arms. And no, Saba will never choose between the two.

In a recent video chat with OTTplay for Amazon Prime Video’s highly anticipated web series Farzi, Saba Azad shared her two bits on the unpredicibility of human nature, the offbeat brief that filmmakers Raj&DK had for her song Sab Farzi, and explained why she would NEVER choose between Team Vijay Sethupathi and Team Shahid Kapoor.

Edited excerpts from our conversation with the star musician:

OTTplay: Your song Sab Farzi is, in my humble opinion, an upbeat and peppy song, and you have done a wonderful job with it. So, I wanted to know from you the brief that you had received from team Raj & DK (the makers)?

Saba Azad: I, you know, I think when Sachin and Jigar called me, they had said that this song is made for you. That's what they said and we cannot think of any other voice on this song. I was like ‘okay, I don’t know what that means’. And when I went to the studio, they said, you be you and I said okay (giggles!). And, go crazy. I was like, I will try my best. And that was that. That's as much of a prompt as I got.

OTTplay: Sachin-Jigar (music composers), as far as the Indian music industry is concerned, are huge. What was the vibe like in the recording studio during Sab Farzi?

Saba Azad: Yeah, they're huge. And they're like little creative geniuses and they are so unassuming. As in, when you walk into a studio, you are like that’s Sachin-Jigar, but they are like the kindest, sweetest people, and they're so easy to work with. And it's just, I mean, I think I also think that the more successful, creative and talented you are, the humbler you get. And they really are the most amazing people to work with. And it's not the first time I'm working with them. And I hope this is not the last. So I really, really enjoy working with those two. They're great.


OTTplay: This web series has a stellar star cast comprising Shahid Kapoor, Vijay Sethupathi and Raashii Khanna, and Raj & DK have written it. At this point, you know more about Farzi more than we all do. So, what do you think about the whole collaboration, with everyone coming together for this show?

Saba Azad: Firstly, this is an Amazon Prime Video (project), which is, you know, already a big deal, and then we have Raj & DK. They are one of the most prolific directors out there in the industry right now. They've got so many incredible shows and films, and, at any given point, they're working on a number of projects. And, each better than the other. So, it's really quite exciting that this is their thing and that there's Shahid Kapoor is in (it). And, Vijay Sethupathi, is in there, who's a huge South star. So, it's a pretty big project. And, whatever I've seen of, the teasers and the trailers, I am super excited to be a part of it.

OTTplay: One of the taglines, which also seems to be the recurring theme of the show—suggests that seems there is a devil, a corrupt person in all of us. Right. So what are your thoughts on that: both from the standpoint of Farzi and life in general?

Saba Azad: From the standpoint of Farzi, you know, I feel like for the sake of the story, I'm guessing, you know, this is an important, you know, tagline that carries the story forward, especially for the you know, I can't speak for him, because I myself haven't seen it. So I can't speak for the story. But if you're talking about life, I think everyone has two sides to themselves. And all human beings have two sides themselves, it really depends on the side that you, you know, rely on the most, and the side that you kind of don't do the most. And that's what makes a human being incredible person or a not-so-incredible person, you know?

OTTplay: You act and you also make music. But what is your personal preference? Do you like do you enjoy acting more or music? Or is it like a bit of both for you?

Saba Azad: For me, I started acting and music simultaneously. I was born into a theater family and I was thrown onto stage when I was really really young and there was a choir and so, I was singing and acting simultaneously. If someone asked me to choose, I get very confused. I get like a little flustered because I can't choose and I don't see why I have to. Because, I think both performing arts blend beautifully to each other, and at the end of the day, the source is the same, you know, you're going back to the same source. It's a creative area that you kind of tap into. And the satisfaction is also very similar. As a creative person, I can't choose and I never will.

OTTplay: Okay, then what about this one: If you were to choose between Team Shahid Kapoor and Team Vijay Sethupathi. Which one would you choose and why?

Saba Azad: This is awful? I'm never going to answer that question. I'm a big fan of both (laughs!)

OTTplay: From the standpoint of acting strictly?

Saba Azad: Not going to answer this question... Both are incredible. How do you choose between two incredible actors? (laughs!)

OTTplay: You are someone who is both an actor and a musician and I was just talking to a musician the other day, and this person mentioned that how sometimes songs get re-dubbed and they're edited out of that project without any prior notice given to the singer who’s originally sung the song. Basically, being dropped and not knowing till they see it on the big screen. As a fellow artiste, how do we know about that?

Saba Azad: I think that's not limited to just the singing industry, you could be cast in something and then last minute someone else could take your place, and you could be taken for a job for a construction job but then last minute someone could change the architecture and take some other architect. So, this actually happens in every industry. And, I think you have to kind of take it on the chin and say, this is part of the job. And sometimes you weren't the right fit. And you have to have a bit of a, you know, ride-no-hide about it, if you're not thick skinned about it, and you're not going to survive, especially in this industry, in order to survive, because at the end of the day, it's what is the best is what's going to be put forward and sometimes you may not be the best fit, and that's all right. That's okay, that happens everywhere.

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