The next SRK might emerge from OTT, andSaif Hyder is definitely in the running.
Actor Saif Hyder plays the role of Prateek Maheshwari, Co-Founder and the man behind
PhysicsWallah – a unicorn in the Indian EdTech space. The OTT series is a biopic and based
on the life of Alakh Pandey, who built a large firm starting with teaching physics on YouTube
and scaled up to being in the Unicorn list of startups this year.
Predictably the show has been a rage among young people. Alakh Pandey’s YouTube
channel Physics Wallah has 9.5 million subscribers; however, the show has been loved by
students from every stream and was thrilled to discover the story of Prateek, who has mostly
remained in the background. While Alakh is the face of the company and is well-known,
Prateek Maheshwari has remained low-key. His career journey has been interesting – after
graduating from IIT, he took a job with an MNC, then quit that and moved to Bengaluru and
started multiple startups – some of which failed and some of which were successful.
As an actor, Saif has beautifully brought the character to life, playing a confident workaholic
who doesn’t want to be in the spotlight and focuses on what’s key for business. Saif, for his
performance, has been flooded with messages of praise and love from fans, making him a
promising actor to look out for in the Indian OTT space.
Saif’s Acting Journey
Since Saif, apart from being an actor, is also a real-life entrepreneur, he was able to draw on
his experience of scaling businesses and building brands to his role.
As an actor, his major experience comes from his distribution company Cineshorts Premiere
where he is the chief curator for content and represents it across various platforms. Since it’s
a distribution company, he gets a lot of content across the globe to evaluate and under the
same process, it helps him learn lots of nuances in the film business, one being performance
since that’s one major aspect of evaluation too. Saif attributes 50% of his acting skills and
experience to workshops, plays, reading etc., while the remaining aspects he learns while
running his company Cineshorts Premiere.
The show marks Saif’s debut as an actor, and he believes staying honest in his performance
Praise from Critics and Fans
Prateek’s character makes an entry in episode 4 and plays a critical part in the storyline till
the finale. ‘The love that I have been receiving for my character is immense, and I am grateful
to the audience for being so loving towards the character of Prateek. People of all ages,
especially students have loved the character and are addressing me through DMs and
comments by the name Prateek itself; I believe that’s where the real success lies for an actor
when people start addressing you by your character name, which certainly ensures that you
have reached their hearts’, says Saif.
Lallantop (4:21) has specifically praised Saif’s work, and fans are DMing Saif asking him
when they’d get to see more of his work.
Saif always aspired to be an actor and was born and brought up in Bombay. His love for films
led him to found CineShorts Premiere in 2019. Coming from a service background where his
father has been a banker, the family has zero connection with Bollywood. In fact, they still
haven’t seen the show! Until recently, one of his cousins told his father about the show and
popularity that Saif is gaining; that’s when my father asked me about the show; not yet sure
whether he’s watched it though.
Just like any other actor, Saif’s journey has been one of persistence and what you see on
screen is a culmination of years of work. He believes what has helped him find this success is
staying true to himself and not taking rejections personally. Apart from pursuing his dream of
acting, he also is an avid entrepreneur running his film distribution company under the name
Cineshorts Premiere which is in a growth stage now. He has also recently partnered on a
venture called ‘Turf Games Events & Entertainment’, which focuses on bringing the game of
Polo to mainstream audiences.