Zaib Shaikh, actor, writer, director (born at Toronto, Ont 1974). Zaib Shaikh was educated in theatre and drama at the University of Toronto - Mississauga and the Sheridan College Institute of Advanced Learning, and holds a Master of Fine Arts (2002) from the University of British Columbia. Shaikh is of Pakistani descent yet has not been typecast into the shallow ethnic stereotypes common in North American pop culture.
His early roles came in the form of a recurring character named Jayesh on the short-lived though surprisingly entertaining nighttime soap opera Metropia, and that of city councillor Shakil Khan on the revamped Da Vinci's City Hall. It was in 2007 with the phenomenally popular CBC comedy Little Mosque on the Prairie that he received international recognition. The series, which broke audience records soon after its premiere, was a sweetly contentious portrayal of Muslim inhabitants of a fictional Saskatchewan town who establish a mosque in the rented parish hall of the local Anglican church. Shaikh played Amaar Rashid, a big-city lawyer who abruptly switches careers and lifestyles to become the mosque's new imam. Shaikh brought a fierce intelligence and flustered naiveté to a role that had no precedent within Canada or Hollywood. He won the 2008 Leo Award for best performance in a comedy series for Little Mosque.
He appeared as Nadir, a naïve and charming poet in Deepa Mehta's adaptation of Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children. The film debuted at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, was a smash hit on the international festival circuit, and saw a wide release around the world.
Shaikh has worked extensively within the theatre world as well and is known to devotees of the Canadian Stage Company, the National Arts Centre and the Stratford Festival. He co-founded the Whistler Theatre Project in the ski resort town of Whistler, BC, in 2006 and is committed to making a lasting contribution to Canadian drama.