Ahmad Ibn Umar, a 10-year boy from Srinagar has grabbed the attention of people after he played young Amir Khan’s role in his upcoming movie Laal Singh Chaddha directed by Advait Chandan.
Ahmad told Rising Kashmir that he is playing the role of Amir Khan’s childhood in the movie, who is a specially-abled boy and later works hard to achieve his goal in his life.
Hailing from the Zaldagar area of Downtown, he said when he was just 4 years old, he was inclined towards acting. He had previously worked in various national and local commercials and played a leading character of young Captain Kabir Kaul in the movie Nootbook released in March 2019.
Ahmad is currently perusing his studies from Tyndale Biscoe School in Srinagar and studies in class 4th. After passing several tough auditions, he was selected by the productions team in 2018.
“From my childhood, I have faced dozens of auditions who were looking for child actors. Many times I failed and but I did not give up,” he said.
The young actor says, then he came in touch with two casting coordinators for Laal Singh Chaddha including SK Sam and Abid. They informed me about auditions, updates and boosted my confidence always, he said.
Ahmad said during the same time, he was also cast in Notebook and Yumerzal besides that, he acted in national television commercials, music videos. It was a tough and interesting journey, he said.
“One day, my local casting coordinators informed that actor Amir Khan is looking for a new face for his childhood role in upcoming movie Laal Singh Chaddha. I appeared through e-audition and was selected by the team. It was the best movement of my life so far,” he said.
The 10 year old Ahmad says after passing the audition, I had to go through several training sessions, workshops, interviews with Amir Khan and his entire team including directors, producers. It continued for some time and till I acted as a young Sikh boy, who is specially-abled in the movie, he said.
“From diet to dialect, the actor has to work on all parameters, so that he could depict the same situation which the movie is depicting. Movie making is joint efforts from small to leading role, all are important in making the film successful on a big screen,” he said.
Ahmad said he was trained for each and everything. The movie has been filmed in more than 100 Indian locations. While principal photography began in Chandigarh on 31 October 2019, he said. “It took me a whole year in shooting my character in the movie and it was the biggest project so far in my short career,” he said.
“During the shooting, I usually woke around 3 in the morning and started preparations of my character and return late from the set. There is no alternative to hard work and dedication. I hope people will appreciate my acting in the movie,” he said.
Regarding family support, the actor says his father is a businessman and his mother is a housewife. They supported my dreams, encouraged and appreciated my talent. What I am today is because of my parents, who guided me at the right time, he said.
“All credit goes to his family who stood behind him like a mighty mountain. They always encouraged and boosted my confidence,” Ahmad said.
“As everyone has his own taste and interest, I am more interested in acting. God has gifted everyone unique talent but there is a need for the right direction at right time. I am lucky that my parents encouraged me always to go into this field,” the young actor says.
“Though there are no theatres in Srinagar, Ahmad is approached by passers-by whenever he ventures out. People who knew me often share their blessings with me,” he said.
About future plans, Ahmad said he wants to continue his studies and then make acting his full-time career in the film industry.
He said there is no other option, other than hard work to achieve success. “If one has to achieve his or her goals, no one can stop him if he or she remains consistent,” Ahmad said.
“There are multiple platforms available where talent can be nourished. It needs academies where actors are trained for the new projects. Kashmir has no dearth of talent but it needs a good platform,” he added.
Laal Singh Chaddha, which also stars Kareena Kapoor, is a Hindi remake of Robert Zemeckis’s Forrest Gump, the multiple Oscar-winning Tom Hanks-starrer that itself was an adaptation of the eponymous 1986 novel by Winston Groom.
It will be interesting to see Ahmad's role in the movie and the movie will hit the theatres in the spring harvest festival of Baisakhi on April 14, 2022.