Early life and modeling career
Saqib Saleem was born into a Muslim family in Delhi, India. His father Saleem Qureshi is a restaurateur, and runs a chain of 10 restaurants called Saleem's, all around Delhi and his mother Ameena Qureshi is a house wife. He has one sister Huma Qureshi and two brothers, Naeem Qureshi and Haseen Qureshi. During college, Saqib briefly assisted in the running of the restaurants, but did not like it. By that time Saqib had already started modelling, and he moved to Mumbai despite his father's preference that he stay in Delhi and earn a Master of Business Administration degree.
Saqib started his career with Cricket playing for Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir. After reaching Mumbai, Saleem started out by doing a few modelling assignments, eventually moving into television advertisements for brands like Pepsi, Lays (with actor Ranbir Kapoor), Tata Docomo, Bar One, KFC, Airtel, Sprite and others. While shooting for the ads, Saqib's interest grew in acting and he started auditioning for film roles in Bollywood films. His close friend, fashion designer Varun Bahl, helped him get a chance to audition for Yash Raj Films. "It was gruelling," he recalls. After eight months of auditioning, he bagged the leading role in the Y-Films romantic comedy Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge.