We know there will be criticism, but we are ready to face it: Meezaan and Sharmin

While acting was not his first choice as a career, Meezaan Jaffrey and Sharmin Segal Have you seen their family background (Meezaan being Jagdeep's grandson and Jaaved Jaaferi's are, while Sharmin is Sanjay Leela Bhansali's niece), they are aware of the pressures that come along and the unavoidable nepotism debate. But the two want to complete justice to the faith and belief their families have in them. After having it comparatively easy to get their debut film, both Meezaan and Sharmin are ready for the criticism that might come their way. On their recent visit to Ahmedabad to promote Malaal These debutantes talked about enjoying the promotions process, managing the pressure of the competition and more. Excerpts: nThe year 2019 will see many star children making their debut. How do you think you can stand out among so many new faces?

Sharmin: I think the only thing that can make me stand out is my performance. You never know what's going to happen with the movie, but if I can act well, I'll be able to stand out and sustain. I know there is a lot of competition, but it is this competition that takes you the most, if you take it positively. You must continue to reinvent yourself because, otherwise, you will be one more face among many of them.

Meezaan: I have grown up around people like my grandfather Jagdeep, who was a huge star in his own right and my father Jaaved Jaaferi, who is a complete entertainer. My family calls him the master of all, but I want to be the master of one and that is acting. I just want to excel in this craft. If you feel entertained seeing me perform, I would feel my job is done.

How hard is it to handle all the pressure, especially in an industry where you face the main players who are already governing that space?

Sharmin: There's a lot of pressure, but not on how my film will go in the BO or how people will react to me as an actress. I know some will appreciate it and some will not. The real pressure is that I have the opportunity to debut in a large production company and I do not want to disappoint people who have trusted my abilities. I do not want to disappoint my family, which has allowed me to follow my passion and let me do what I wanted in my life.

Meezaan: When I started shooting for Malaal, I was extremely nervous as it was my first time in front of the camera. But now, I feel a lot calmer. I have done the hard work and now, everything is in the hands of the audience and how they receive the film. I agree with Sharmin that some will appreciate us and others will not. I also know that there will be criticism coming my way and I am ready for it. But I am satisfied that I have done my job well.

Acting was never on the cards for you, until Malaal. Several kids from film families say the same thing, but most of them invariably end up in films.

Meezaan: I think it is true for everyone. The atmosphere you grow up in makes a huge impact and it becomes a sub-conscious part of your psyche. I have grown up seeing my grandfather and my father doing films, live shows, reality shows and it was a big part of my growing up years. And even though one does not consciously think that 'I want to do films', it just grows on one. One is familiar with that atmosphere, one know how things work and somewhere, it develops a natural inclination inside one.

Sharmin: I started as an assistant director (AD) and the acting was a distant dream, but the change has been a well thought out decision. As an AD, you're a team player, but as an actor, it's a pretty lonely journey, especially mentally. You may be surrounded by people, but only you can understand, execute and establish a character in front of the camera. But I'm happy to have made this move.

Despite all the pressure, you have a family within the film industry to turn to. That must be reassuring?

Sharmin: It is, but only to a certain extent. No matter who I know personally in the industry or who is my sponsor, no one will give me a job if I am an average actor. I've done a lot of hard work for my debut film. Everyone has to work hard, the struggles and challenges that each individual faces can be different, but one has to face them and overcome them.

Meezaan: It's a battle that one has to fight. My father has never given me career advice and I do not think he would interfere in my decisions.