New Delhi: Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub`s memorable turn as Dhanush`s best friend `Murari` in "Raanjhanna" has earned him praise from everyone and the actor hopes that its success brings him new opportunities in Bollywood.
Zeeshan, an NSD graduate, made his debut as the negative lead in "No One Killed Jessica" in 2011. His performance was critically acclaimed and he followed it up with supporting roles in "Mere Brother Ki Dulhan" and "Jannat 2".
Zeeshan`s dialogues in "Raanjhanaa" have been a huge hit with the audiences, finding their way to Facebook and Twitter. He believes the film could be a turning point in his career.
"The response has been very good and not many are coming with cliche roles. There were two three such offers but I declined. I think things have changed a lot in Bollywood now, directors are coming up with interesting characters. They no longer slot you," Zeeshan said.
Having played hero`s friend in three films, Zeeshan now wants to move on to other interesting characters.
"I will not do hero`s friends anymore because I have done it thrice. There should be a step ahead but it does not mean that I will not do supporting roles. There are many interesting characters in different formats," he said.
The actor finds it gratifying when people call him by his screen name or believe that he is from Varanasi, the setting of the film but Zeeshan says he never thought the dialogue would become so big.
"When we were doing the film, we did not know that it will be such a success. The credit goes to Anand (Rai, director) sir and Himanshu (Sharma, writer). They created beautiful characters. We never treated them as dialogues because even in the most intense of scenes, there is wit and humour. We never tried to underline anything. This is why they have hit home."
Zeeshan spent some time with Dhanush before the shooting which, he says, helped them understand each other and bond as friends in real life too.
"Anand sir and Himanshu called Dhanush to Mumbai four-five days before the shoot. We spent those days together. We were lost a bit initially but then something clicked and we became friends, which shows in our performances too. Dhanush gives you space to give your best," he said.
After "Raanjhanaa", Zeeshan is looking forward to the release of "Shahid".
While "Raanjhanna" saw his humourous side, he plays the key role of Shahid`s serious but supportive brother. Zeeshan says he got Hansal Mehta directed film before "Raanjhanaa".
"I got `Shahid` long before `Raanjhanaa`, its casting director Mukesh Chhabra is a friend. He called me one day and when I reached there Hansal sir was also there. They were to begin shooting in about two days. They said `let us do a trial`. Hansal sir said I was perfect for the role and I was on," Zeeshan said.
The film is based on the life of lawyer and human rights activist, Shahid Azmi, who was assassinated in 2010 in Mumbai. "Shahid" had its world premiere in Toronto International Film Festival to great audience response.
He is also starring in `Maaji` as a negative lead and is also in talks for three other films.
Zeeshan regrets that his father is not around to see the success of his films but counts his mother as his support system.
"Things started happening only after the death of my father in 2007. He had this fear about me but I was in NSD at that time. He would come and watch my performances there. He would often say that I was getting better. My mother is very supportive but she becomes emotional. We miss our father. I think he would have been very happy," Zeeshan said.
He may have found his feet in Bollywood but Zeeshan says he wants to better his craft with each film.
"Satisfaction is a state of mind. Even when I was not in films, I was satisfied with my theatre work and teaching but I will never be content. Now, I can`t see `Raanjhanaa` without spotting my mistakes. Films are a different medium, you can`t go back and rectify things, so I want to better it with each performance."