Jammu and Kashmir (CNN)– In the winter of 2018, actor Tariq Ahmad Mir was performing during a comedy skit to welcome visitors to the picturesque hill town of Pahalgam within the Indian-controlled region of Jammu and Kashmir.
Bollywood director Imtiaz Ali, known for popular films “Jab We Met” and “Rockstar,” had dropped in after attending an area festival. The two met and snapped a photo together, which Ali posted to Instagram with a caption that might change Mir’s life. It said: “With Tyrion Lannister at Pahalgam festival.”
Until then, Mir had never heard of Tyrion Lannister — much less Peter Dinklage, the award-winning actor who plays the character in Game of Thrones (GoT), the favored American fantasy drama television series.
The picture went viral and stories appeared on entertainment sites declaring that Peter Dinklage’s doppelganger had been discovered in Jammu and Kashmir.
Curious to understand more about his lookalike, Mir went online and watched the GoT series on his cellphone. He saw his resemblance to Dinklage — their facial structure, their hair, and, as actors with dwarfism, their similar height.
A month later, Mir received a surprising call — a Bollywood casting director in Mumbai was offering him a little role within the film “Bharat,” a drama supported the 2014 South Korean film “Ode to My Father,” starring Indian superstar Salman Khan.
Mir accepted the offer and flew to Mumbai in July 2018 for a month of filming — it had been his first trip outside his home state.”It was a surreal experience to satisfy the superstar Salman Khan for the primary time on the sets and dance alongside him and other actors,” said Mir.
“Even without makeup, many of us on the set told me that I resembled the American actor (Dinklage) quite the other lookalike,” he remembered with a smile. “That made me very happy.”More roles and offers followed — Mir’s star was on the increase.
Early struggles Born the youngest of 4 brothers and two sisters, Mir grew up in Bumtham village within the Mir Bazar area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. His father, a farmer, gave up the ghost after a quick illness in 2014 and therefore the 36-year-old actor now lives together with his mother and elder brother, who may be a teacher.
Mir started acting in high school and won awards for his stage performances and skits. But work was hard to return by. He earned a little amount of cash working at college functions and cultural events. While Mir says some people in his village made fun of his height, it didn’t stop him from acting.
In his early 20s, he won minor roles in dramas aired by state-run television channels in Srinagar, the most important city in Jammu and Kashmir. But it had been nothing compared to the celebrity he found from his resemblance to Dinklage.
After the Bollywood film, he became well-known in his village and locals swapped videos of him on their cellphones. children recognized him publicly parks, at weddings, and other functions, he said. Everyone wanted a selfie. But within the past nine months, his work has dried up.
Mir has been mostly restricted to his home since August 5, 2019, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir and introduced a bill to separate the state into two union territories, effective from October 31. In India, state governments retain authority over local matters, but New Delhi has more of a say within the affairs of a union territory.
At an equivalent time, New Delhi launched a security crackdown, suspending all communications and placing heavy restrictions on movement and public gatherings within the region.
It also issued a warning for tourists to go away thanks to a “terror threat” in Kashmir, one among the world’s most contested regions, claimed in parts or fully by India, Pakistan, and China. Several countries — including Germany, Britain, and Australia — issued travel warnings to remain away.
Before the crackdown, Mir says he was offered a task as a villain in another Bollywood film, “Marjaavaan,” directed by Milap Zaveri and released in November last year.
He said he had the script but couldn’t contact the casting director during the communications blackout. The lead role of an evil dwarf Vishnu Shetty was ultimately filled by Indian actor Riteish Deshmukh, who filmed parts of the movie on his knees.
“Had I got that role, it might have benefited me,” Mir said. “I’d not done any villain’s role till then and it had been also a much bigger role. it might have given me more work and publicity.”
Mir omitted on local work too. Peak summer tourism season events in Kashmir have canceled thanks to the safety clampdown. Then in March, the Indian government announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Source: cnn news