Director Khan recounted the difficult process of casting the main character in his upcoming film.
How Kashmiri boy Talha Arshad Reshi became Aijaz Khan's Hamid
Mumbai - 22 Jun 2018 12:00 IST
Aijaz Khan's upcoming film, Hamid, set in Kashmir asks, "Have you ever spoken to God?".
The film revolves around an eight-year-old boy Hamid whose father has gone missing and his mother has become despondent. The young boy wants to find his father, who his mother says is with Allah, and tries using the number 786 from his father's mobile phone to reach God.
Instead of reaching God, the phone connects him to a stranger who kindly reaches out to the hopeful boy. Their unique connection might just change both of their lives.
For the film, it was critical that Khan find a young boy who could bring out the right emotions for this emotional film. He had to cast the best young actor for the job.
Khan recalled the initial challenges of locating his ‘Hamid’ in a safe village of Kashmir. Once they thought they had found a suitable boy, however, he decided against the role. The search had to begin again.
“After several months of arduous auditioning, we found our Hamid. Two days before the shoot, the boy who was to play Hamid, and who had reached the hotel, developed cold feet, and walked out of the film. We were flabbergasted. Out came our audition tapes, and we re-watched the top five contenders,” recalls Khan.
But there was a silver lining when they reached Talha Arshad Reshi.
"Talha’s caramel eyes and angelic face caught everyone’s eye and he was asked to join immediately. When Talha walked into our hotel, one day before the shoot in a worn out pheran [traditional Kashmiri outfit] and skull cap, there was a unanimous cheer,” the director knew he had found his Hamid.
The Urdu language film has been shot entirely in Kashmir and is produced by Yoodlee Films. Their first film was Ajji (2017).
Sumit Kaul and Rasika Dugal play Hamid's parents, while Vikas Kumar plays a key role in the film.
This is Khan’s third film after The White Elephant (2009) and Baankey Ki Crazy Baraat (2015).