Arfi Lamba – star of Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire


Right from his debut in the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire by Danny Boyle, Arfi Lamba has been passionately involved with various commercial Bollywood and independent film projects. From Fugly, Singh Is Bling to Prague, The Gift and the recent critically-acclaimed, The Idiot (the film had its world premiere at the 40th Asian American International Film festival, New York, and was also in the International Competition section at the 39th Cairo International Film festival), Mr. Lamba is the toast of film circles around the world as an astute actor who has the ability to embody layered characters, understand their pulses and portray them with depth and empathy. What also sets him apart from his contemporaries is his constant endeavour to reinvent himself and train in the craft. He recently finished his tenth intensive acting workshop with James Kemp in New York, who teaches the likes of Tom Hardy and Emilia Clarke, on movement psychology.
I had a good interview with him and here are all the questions I asked him and he replied back with detail.
Q: Why acting? You studied engineering and turned to acting, were your dreams different?
Arfi Lamba: I was born in a very small town and the only option we had was to study and grow. That’s what I did. I was a scholarship holder and choose engineering, I even worked for a year and a half as an engineer.
Like any other Indian, I loved Hindi movies and cinema. I would know the songs backwards and because of my parents knew the movies from the golden era of bollywood. But I thought actors are made somewhere else. they don’t born like me in small towns.
Delhi, where I cam to do my job , fuelled my dreams. I think I always wanted to be an actor and if I knew that there is method to it and that anyone can aspire for it, it would have been my first and only choice for career.
Q: How difficult is it to adjust into a new city, new career and new industry?
Arfi Lamba: When your heart is burning for passion, nothing is difficult, nothing is impossible. I love my job. Not a single day, even on the days when I have been without a single rupee, has felt like a struggle. I have loved every bit of my journey.
Q: Do you think training is important or talent is enough in the film industry?
Arfi Lamba: The case with talent is – either you have it or don’t. So get over it. Training and working hard is what we all do. I am trained actor and take great pride in all the workshops I have done and feel obliged to all my teachers who taught me on the way. The latest is a workshop I am about to do with Sandra Seacrest in Berlin in May. Like any other profession and actor also needs to hone his instrument for as long as he is working.
Q: Tell is about your big debut in “Slumdog Millionaire”
Arfi Lamba: I did a cameo actually. But it kickstarted my life. Actually my first have been super special. My First Film was Slumdog, First Festival I went to, even before I knew what film festivals are, was Cannes Film festival and the first theatre I performed at was Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai.
My selection is Slumdog is a long story but something that always reiterates my faith that thoughts become things.
Q: You did lots of short films, was there a reason for this?
Arfi Lamba: They are a wonderful medium and let you express a theme in smaller duration. Rather than sitting empty, I would love to shoot almost everyday and create something worthwhile. Plus they have no censorship. You can say what you want to say without the pressures of commerce and censorship.
Q: How excited were you when your short film was selected for the International film festival?
Arfi Lamba: It’s always good when your work is recognised. it adds to your confidence, and more than that, to your joy of being appreciated. I am always ecstatic when my work reaches new audiences and adds feathers to my cap.
Q: How was the experience working with Akshay Kumar?
Arfi Lamba: He is an inspiration. Our industry does not have any match to his hard work, discipline. And he is a bloody good actor. Just observing him perform was a huge learning in itself. He would always be there to rehearse with you and help you if you are stuck. I am a fan of his work.
Q: Who inspires you as an actor?
Arfi Lamba: There is no match for Pankaj Kapoor Saab, Naseeruddin Saab, Raghuveer Yadav, and then there are wonderful unsung heroes like Utpal dutt. Oh, all those who have gone before me on this road and enriched cinema with their performances by giving it a part of themselves, they all inspire me.
Q: Have you got any upcoming projects?
Arfi Lamba: A lot is happening. 2018 is my year. But I will wait for the projects to be announced by producers.
Q: What is the one advise which you can give to the people who want to join the industry.
Arfi Lamba: It’s not easy, unless you are super lucky. It needs time and patience. But It’s your dream and only you can see it with you eyes. Listen to everyone, but do what your heart tells you. Like in the play ‘Bombay Jazz’, the lead actor tells the young boy, “Follow the music my son, it will lead you home”. So, all i can say is follow the beat of your heart and you will be on your way to creating a life of your dreams.