Rafiq was born in Mumbai, India, the home of Bollywood. So it was inevitable that the melodramatic acting bug would've bitten him early. He spent his schooldays in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania, where he grew up on a steady diet of cassava, science fiction stories from the British Council Library, and grainy VHS tapes of the latest Bollywood and Hollywood movies. It was also here that he discovered a knack for acting and break-dancing (and in one misguided instance, performing magic) and was soon performing on-stage pretty much every few months. It was also during his school years that he ended up performing the role of Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice" 3 separate times - in elementary school, middle school, and high school. Something about "demanding his pound of flesh" aligned with his essence.
However, his parents and teachers discovered his aptitude for math and science, and so, as a good Indian boy, he studied engineering and found himself in Boston, working as an engineer.
But that melodramatic acting bug never left him and soon, he was doing plays and taking acting classes to mellow his...melodramaticity? Melodramaness? Anyway, as fate would have it, he continued to doggedly pursue his corporate career and joined the full-time MBA program at Emory University's Goizueta Business School. It was while here that he took his first on-camera acting class at YourAct Studios in Decatur, GA. He loved the class. He was moved enough to write and direct the business school's first entry int the Campus Moviefest, called "MBA Interview Chronicles". He also shot and acted in another short film for the MBA Orientation program, an Apprentice spoof. He felt so alive doing all this that he decided to perform in the business school's annual coffeehouse, dancing "Stayin' Alive". He felt even more alive.
The feeling of being so alive, so in the zone, was so strange and unexpected that he chalked it to a curious side-effect of his pollen allergy medications. He then started another corporate job after finishing his MBA. But as fate would inexorably have it, he performed in two plays the same year - one a remake of "Fiddler on the Roof", where he played, Perchik, the Revolutionary, and the other, a Hindi play called "Badalte Rishtey", where he played a casanova with a bad temper. Both plays did very well amongst the Metro Atlanta South Asian community and Rafiq's performances were very well received. And as a bonus, he also won the second place in the Atlanta Desi Idol Dance Competition that year!
The Flame of Acting was now fully lit and burning. Even raging.
Rafiq soon teamed up with writer/director, Atlanta Nagendra, to produce, co-write and star in Atlanta's first Hindi language feature film, "Mumbhai Connection" (trailer). He signed up with Houghton Talent and started taking more classes at Creative Studios of Atlanta, Professional Actor's Studio, and Michael Cole Studio, covering audition technique, on-camera acting, and improv. He booked his first role in Drop Dead Diva shortly thereafter, and various industrials, shorts and pilots.
Rafiq now continues to hone his craft with the various incredible teachers in Atlanta, to develop his brand, and to put out his best work. He also brings to bear the discipline and professional etiquette picked up from having studied at a top business school and working with Fortune 500 firms.
He has one driving mantra: "Do what you love and love what you do, and worry not about the results". I guess when you come from a culture with 4000 years of history, there are some things you just know :)
Unique traits: Experience having taken a feature film from concept to consumers in theaters in India, strong mix of business, technical and creative skills, good Bollywood and Hollywood sensibiilties
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