He might be one of the few young actors who have worked with Shah Rukh Khan (‘Raees’, Aanand L Rai’s next), Salman Khan (‘Tubelight’) and Aamir Khan (‘Thugs Of Hindostan’) but those who have seen this powerhouse performer in action, they would vouch for the fact that he does not need a bigger star to compliment his presence. His talent speaks for itself. After playing strong, supporting parts in several successful films in the last couple of years, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub will be seen in the titular role of ‘Sameer’ in his upcoming film. In this interview, he talks about ‘Sameer’, the importance of being vocal about political and social issues, working with the three Khans and the perks of playing the protagonist in a film.
‘Sameer’ is inspired by real-life events. How much research did you have to do before shooting for the film?
The film might remind of you of certain events but it is primarily a fictional story. I did not have to do much research on the subject or the milieu of the film. Sameer, the character I play, is a common man. The idea was to portray him as a regular person, the kind you encounter on a daily basis. The film is about this common man who finds himself trapped in a certain situation which turns his life upside down.
Unlike most people from the industry, you are very vocal about your opinions on social issues and politics on social media. Don’t you ever fear a backlash?
There is a strange kind of a fear that most people in the country are engulfed in and that is the reason they prefer to keep mum on different kind of issues concerning the nation. Public figures, in particular, are afraid to speak out and share their opinions. We live in a democracy and I strongly feel that every person should have the right and the freedom to say anything they want to. If I believe in something, I should be the first person to follow that. So, I always share my thoughts and opinions publicly without any fear or hesitation.
The content or the subject of the film is not something a lot of filmmakers would dare to explore. The film had its own share of issues. The Censor Committee recommended numerous cuts before it was finally cleared by the Tribunal Court. Did you also anticipate some trouble because of the current political climate?
It did occur to us that the film might face some problem when the film is out. But we were very sure about the fact that we will not make any compromise and make the film the way it should be made. When I read the script, I realized very few actors will dare to take up this film and play a character like this. I decided to do the film because I had immense faith in the subject. It is a very brave film and I am glad it has been made with a lot of honesty.