Tubelight actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub on playing the eternal sidekick in Bollywood and discovering his acting genes through theatre


Hindi cinema has always had a soft corner for the sidekick. Once he returned to Bollywood and after his turn as Manu Sharma, Ayyub’s depiction of earthy, small-town characters helped him ease into the industry. But mera funda hai, behte chalo (I believe in going with the flow). Look at it this way — I’m trying to get the industry to warm up to good acting,” he says, with a chuckle. I am the shoulder to lean on),” says Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, with a laugh. But a conversation with friend and lyricist Raj Shekhar helped him change his decision. However, it isn’t some rule set in stone that a friend needs to be played just one way. “My parents were theatrepersons, very active on the Delhi scene and had worked with the likes of Sheela Bhatia and Amal Allana. “Nawaz bhai has floated a new formula. But reality struck home early when he watched Aks (2001). I knew I wasn’t prepared, that I was just overconfident. I was about four years old, and I could recite the dialogues verbatim,” says the 34-year-old actor, who now runs a theatre group, Being Association, with his wife Rasika in Mumbai. He gave up acting and started to pursue the other thing he excelled at — mathematics, preparing for an MSc. The actor is talking about the characters he has played so far in Bollywood — best friend of the hero; the ever-present lackey lending a friendly ear or shoulder to crestfallen heroines; the one who mouths witty one-liners and helps the guy and girl to get together. EXPRESS PHOTO BY PRAVEEN KHANNA DELHI 06 07 2013. I am not very ambitious as an individual. Hum kandha hain (I always make an entry when the girl is sad and is in need of support. After college, Ayyub landed up in Mumbai to act. Everyone said, ‘Ek baar kar liya toh hamesha hi friend ban ke reh jaoge (If you do it once, you’ll always play the friend)’. At the same time, I was obsessed with the film Sharaabi (1984). Ayyub has slowly and steadily risen through the ranks, since his debut as the infamous Manu Sharma in No One Killed Jessica (2009). “He told me that while I was good at it, the field of mathematics would not benefit from my presence. Theatre helped me look at the larger perspective,” he says. Perhaps, theatre, which he initially resisted in his teenage years, became his kandha when he least expected it. There’s room for everyone,” says Ayyub. I came back to Delhi,” says Ayyub. 2017-07-02T00:00:54+00:00″>
Published:July 2, 2017 12:00 am

Braving the friend zone: Tubelight actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub came to the limelight with Raanjhanaa. Once he started doing theatre in college, though, it transformed his world. Is he happy being friend zoned? Look at Vikrant Massey, Rajkummar Rao, and now Jim Sarbh. But, it was his work in Jannat 2 (2012) and Raanjhanaa (2013) that won him recognition. Hum tab aate hai jab kanya bohut udaas hoti hai, saare rishto se pareshan hoti hain. They gave it up because of familial obligations. “I was a typical Okhla lad — chauvinistic, patriarchal and judgmental. “After Jannat 2, I had to buy a car — it was second-hand — because I wasn’t able to travel in the Mumbai locals anymore,” he says. He called me to play the friend. This year, he has already shared screen space with Shah Rukh Khan in Raees and is now busy shooting in Malta for Thugs of Hindoostan, which stars Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan. But if I were to take up acting, it would surely be better for it,” says Ayyub, who then went on to study at the National School of Drama in 2006. “Ali Zaffar Abbas, a senior from Kirori Mal College (KMC), was directing Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011). But does Ayyub feel that the ‘supporting role’ category in Bollywood can sustain actors with range? His performance was so surreal and stylistic. EXPRESS PHOTO BY PRAVEEN KHANNA DELHI 06 07 2013. EXPRESS PHOTO BY PRAVEEN KHANNA DELHI 06 07 2013. He even got through IIT Delhi. Call it a twist of fate, but Ayyub’s first cinematic outing as a friend can be blamed — on a friend. Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub, actor from Raanjhanaa. I used to think those who can’t do anything else act. My brother said I could give it a try since I wasn’t serious about acting anyway,” says Ayyub, who plays Narayan, the village hothead and bully in last week’s release, Tubelight. Related News
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