All we talk about these days is Neerja, and for good reason too: it’s the best film we’ve seen this year so far, and not only did it show us Sonam Kapoor in a whole new light, it’s also introduced us to a whole bunch of new actors. For example, Jim Sarabh – the menacing hijacker Khalil – is on everyone’s radar now for being a fantastic actor. But there’s someone else we noticed in the film: hijacker Mansoor, the vulnerable 18-year-old who finds himself in a situation he didn’t quite expect. He’s being called the “hijacker with a soul” and the actor behind him is actually Ali Baldiwala.
Fun fact: he’s the oldest actor of the lot, but plays the youngest hijacker.
Surprisingly, Ali is actually an interior designer by profession! He has his own firm – Baldiwala Associates – in South Mumbai so acting isn’t really a thing he was doing. He was, however, always interested in acting and has done some auditions. And last year, he got a call from casting director Kanika Berry who offered him the role in Neerja. It was the first film audition he did, and things worked out!
I’m only glad to have worked on such a beautiful script with the most amazing team, comprising of our director Mr. Ram Madhvani, Bling, Sonam Kapoor & Fox. I played Mansoor in the film, who is apprehensive about doing what he is doing. It was a beautiful character and I have enjoyed playing it. My character, being so vulnerable, has been noticed by lot of people and the response is overwhelming.
Here’s hoping we see Ali in other projects soon!