Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub says the characters he gets offered should surprise him, and not have a predictable graph. “That will mean the character is still within my system of understanding,” he said, adding that it should give him something new to explore.
Zeeshan said this was the reason he was drawn to the recent Bloody Brothers on Zee5. “Daljit is innocent, very vulnerable and docile because he’s been raised in the shadow of his brother. He has many layers and that was one of the important reasons,” Zeeshan told indianexpress.com. He revealed that he saw the character “like a 13-14 year-old boy who gets angry quickly, emotional quickly.” The way Daljit reacts sets the main game, “and that’s the fun of it.”
From playing supporting roles, mainly hero’s friend (Zero, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Raees, Raanjhanaa, Phantom, Tubelight etc) to main lead, Zeeshan has made a conscious effort to experiment.
“A hero’s friend ends up being a mouthpiece. When you think your audience is dumb, you’ll make the friend say everything you want to, about the hero. If your character isn’t adding anything to the screenplay, that’s a waste. I’m not comfortable playing such characters. With the advent of OTT, one got the liberty to say no to a project more easily because the frequency of work has increased. Your choice has become better.”
Bloody Brothers is a two-hero project with actor Jaideep Ahlawat playing his elder brother. Zeeshan shared that when the script came to him, he called up Jaideep to check if he was doing it too. “Our chemistry in personal life is much better,” he said. Stating that his decade long friendship with Jaideep translated well onscreen in terms of their brotherly bond, he was sure Jaideep’s performance will improve his graph too.
“Jaideep’s ease at characters is something I love. My character is very vulnerable, and with Jaideep opposite me, I knew the way he’ll react will help in my graph. I didn’t have to worry about pulling off the entire scene on my shoulders. We were sharing the responsibility,” Zeeshan said.
The actor has also collaborated with filmmaker Shaad Ali for the first time. “He gave us all the freedom. We were surprised with the pace at which we shot. We finished a four-page long scene in one-and-a-half-hours. He said ‘what’s the point of taking actors like you and Jaideep if you’d take time to do a scene?’ His sense of humour is amazing and he has the knack for dark comedy too.”
Zeeshan’s previous release Tandav on Amazon Prime Video faced heat for allegedly hurting religious sentiments. Claiming that the time post its release was more like a “retrospect”, Zeeshan said he pondered upon how audience keeps bracketing him every now and then.
“I got a good breathing space after whatever happened with Tandav. Then projects got pushed due to the second wave. I got time to retrospect on things. It is other people’s perspective – the problem about us getting typecast. Like at one time, I got typecast as hero’s friend. That got broken and then a new tag came in about being political in my thought process, and that I play characters who speak socio-political language. I wanted to change that too. I hope now people get to see the light-hearted side of me, unlike the authoritative characters.”