Sumit Kaul: In conversation about Hamid!

Hamid is one of those stories that resonates with you, not just because it highlights the issues in Kashmir, but because it gives you a human lens perspective again. Sumit Kaul spoke to us about Hamid, which was showcased as part of IFFSA 2019. My initial thoughts surrounding the film were, of course, to ask what the draw was for Sumit Kaul in becoming involved in another story about Kashmir, but specifically a story about a young Kashmiri boy and how he is coping with everything happening around him. 

Sumit Kaul has the following take on when he was narrated the film: “When I was narrated the film, and was given the brief, I think my first takeaway from the film was that here is a film about dealing with loss. First accepting that loss, then being able to move on from it without continuing to suffer. Rather than being hurtful, remembering either the lost person or the time or place or the situation with fondness. I think for me, this film is really about that, and that really connected with me. Obviously, the way the film has been written is extremely moving and extremely emotional and it is touching on a lot of other aspects as well, and I was excited to be a part of the narrative. 

I asked him about his character in the film, who has an integral role in the process for the young child who is trying to connect with his father again. Sumit responded that he was definitely connected with his character, adding “…I think what also connected with me was the fact that my character would essentially be an integral part of the narrative because he represented those fond memories, he represented the thinking that the child gets from his father, he represented everything that was wonderful in their lives, he represented a thought process and values of love and care and it's that what was lost and what left a void in the life of the wife and essentially the child who was at an impressionable age. As an actor, you have the challenge of being able to create that experience for the other character in a very short span because my character is basically a cameo in the film so the challenge is to create that beautiful relationship within a few scenes. It was something that also attracted me.”

Because of the number of film festivals that have expressed an interest in Hamid, there is already quite a bit of publicity, as a result, some positive feedback from critics. So I asked him what the story meant for him, and if it left a personal impact. Sumit responded, “I think with me, since the part was very limited, since the time I spent in the film is very limited, it's not one of those parts that kind of stayed on with me. I've had that kind of experience with other films, for other parts that I have played. For this particular thing, the role did not particularly affect me. Because it is a very limited time that I spent, it is comparatively easier to move on and not be affected by the personality that he has taken on for a few days. Although the character is extremely distant to who I am - so I wouldn't relate to this character."

So I asked him if the way he built on his character and his impressions of his role were affected because he was dealing with a child actor. Sumit talked about adapting when working with a child artist and said, “[o]bviously, you know when you are working with a child, you need to make an adjustment and the adjustment is more in craft than in internalizing the character. How I view my character, what I feel about him, how I want to portray him is irrespective of what the outside circumstances for the actor is. The situation for the actor could change but the way you look at a character will be different.  So adjustments need to be made and one obviously needs to be sensitive to the fact that it is a child you are dealing with and so you make certain adjustments and you can't be too prepared in the way you want to do the scene. You kind of look at how the child is understanding the scene, what kind of mood he is in. How energetic is he on that particular day because he is only eight years old. It's not fair to call him a child actor because he is literally not acting. He is there and he is being told to do certain things and he is doing them that way. So yes, so you kind of adjust yourself while maintaining the integrity of the character, still be able to say what the scene needs you to say.

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Armin Sethi

Bollywood Film Fame Canada has been a source of original content consisting of real conversations, reviews, and news of everything film, music, and entertainment for 15 years.

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