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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub: If an actor is not socially aware, then he isn’t an actor at all

Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub's portrayal of Dalit leader Nishad in Anubhav Sinha's Article 15 has been lauded by the audience and critics alike. In a candid chat, Zeeshan shares why being socially aware is important for an actor.

Written by Mimansa Shekhar | New Delhi | Updated: July 14, 2019 6:05:15 pm
zeeshan ayyub article 15 nishad Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub’s Nishad is one of the most powerful and memorable characters of Article 15.

Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub’s Nishad might just have three scenes in Anubhav Sinha’s latest social drama Article 15, but in those few minutes, Zeeshan managed to register an impact. The actor believes it is important for an artiste to remain socially aware.

Zeeshan told, “I feel if an actor is not socially aware and doesn’t feel related to socio-political issues, then he/she isn’t an actor at all. For an actor to get attached with a socially relevant film is very important. I think if you aren’t doing such kind of films, after a point, your inside will begin to rust. You will start feeling weak and begin to repeat yourself. You won’t be able to emerge as a great actor because if you aren’t able to relate with your own society, that means you aren’t sensitive. If you aren’t sensitive, then you aren’t an actor.”

Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, who has been part of bigger films like Thugs of Hindostan and Zero last year, seems to be changing the way he is picking scripts. Asserting that “quality is better than quantity”, he said, “To do such a character who is important, dignified and has his own world is always better than doing a character who doesn’t contribute anything to a screenplay. Basically, while discussing the story of the film, if your character does not pop up, then there is no point.”

“Initially, for an actor to prove himself, it is important that he takes up whatever comes his way. But after a point, it is more preferable that you do a character who holds dignity in his own world so that you can put forth your own perspective. Or else you will end up following what the main actor is bringing to the table and you might not feel interested or satisfied. I think quality and what you are working on is important, rather than how much are you working on,” he added.

Given the fact his last few films, despite starring Shah Rukh Khan (Zero), Salman Khan (Tubelight) and Aamir Khan (Thugs of Hindostan), failed to impress the masses, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub confessed that hits and flops do affect him. Hence, he is now taking it slow in signing films, to ensure that his own creative satisfaction is at the forefront.

Also read: Article 15 wouldn’t be a winner if it wasn’t for its powerful supporting cast

“Now I am trying to distance myself from such films. I am getting so many offers but I am refusing most of them. People are worried and telling me ‘What are you doing? Refusing every project coming your way.’ Can you imagine, this year, leaving aside Article 15, I haven’t signed anything. Turram Khan was also signed last year. Now I am focusing more on projects where I will have creative satisfaction and fun. Thugs and Zero took my two years, and I could only do these two films in that span because of schedule and everything. Manikarnika came in the middle like a 5-6 days replacement work. So, there was no process there. They knew what they wanted and I just went and did that. Even Arjun Patiala was a work of a few days where I went and just wrapped it up quickly,” the actor said.

Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub confessed he is on the lookout for characters which contribute to the overall film. “Now I am keeping a focus and looking out for characters which have something happening in their story. I don’t have an issue doing a big film again, just that this time there should be something happening in the life of the character. A character arc is very important or else you will be the first one to get chopped off on the editing table. If looking at the film, it seems like you gave just 15 days, but in reality, it was over two years, that’s disheartening. Then you realise that your life isn’t that useless that you waste two years of it this way.”

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