18-year-old Mohammad Samad, who left such a strong impact in Tumbbad, plays the central character in the Netflix series Selection Day. Based on the Booker winner Aravind Adiga’s best-selling novel, it is the story of an underprivileged smalltown boy’s struggle to become a national-level cricketer.
Playing underprivileged characters comes naturally to Mohammad Samad. He is the youngest of 6 siblings in a family from Roorkee in Hardwar. His father owns a grocery store.
Mohammad, who made his acting debut at age 12 in the National award winning film Gattu, is now acknowledged as a talent of substance.
Director-actor Mahesh Manjrekar, who plays a cricket coach in Selection Day, says Samad is a natural-born actor. “He just takes over the camera. He wants to go to an acting school. I told him not to. It will only make him conscious of his skills,” says Manjrekar.
Speaking about his acting debut in Gattu, Mohammad says, “When I did Gattu, I didn’t know what acting was. I am still learning, I remember they came looking for their Gattu to our school. I was among the 20 children who were shortlisted. Finally, I was selected. I was happy. I just wanted to make my parents proud. I still do.”
Mohammad Samad’s parents are indeed proud of their youngest born. After Gattu Mohammad was selected to play a pivotal role in the recently-released Tumbbad, it fetched the young actor rave reviews.
Samad was only 12 when he shot for this film. He was 18 when it finally got released. Now, he divides his time between his hometown in Roorkee and Mumbai. “I come here to Mumbai only when there is work. For Selection Day, I had to learn cricket since I wasn’t much of a cricket player to begin with. I put in two hours of practice every morning.”
Such dedication at such a young age comes naturally to this natural-born actor who has somehow been trying to do his studies while fulfilling his acting commitment. “I’ve been attending to my studies from home, only went to school for my board exams. Acting is where my heart is. But I know, I’ve a long way to go,” says the young actor citing Shah Rukh Khan as his favourite.