Being aware of this is his greatest asset, says actor Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, who sees his role as the idealistic student leader in Tandav as the character closest to who he really is – an artist-activist who wants to change society, not just his life.
The role of Shiva in Ali Abbas Zafar’s political show has many parallels with his life as a student at Delhi University’s Kirori Mal College, the actor said. Zeeshan believes it is important for artists to engage with their surroundings.
“It’s pretty close to who I am,” Ayyub told PTI when asked if the role was tailored for him.
Be it through his plays, his recital of the letter of the late research scientist Rohith Vemula or his participation in the protests against the law to change the citizenship law, the peasant protests or other topics of the day, the 37-year-old speaks out. Make your presence felt on social media and other platforms at a time when many are afraid to express their views.
“Being aware is my greatest asset,” said Ayyub.
“I get affected and firmly believe that if I stop being influenced by things around me, I won’t be an actor. If in real life I cannot be sensitive to my surroundings, how can I justify my character and be aware of my surroundings as an actor and character? “Said Ayyub, who has a dedicated fan with his formidable twist in films like Raanjhanaa, Shahid, Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Raees and Article 15.
Expressing topics has influenced him professionally, but that doesn’t really matter, he said, rejecting the idea that artists should stay away from politics.
“Actors don’t come from another planet, they come from our society… It’s a misconception that artists shouldn’t talk about politics. In my opinion, an actor has to be an activist. If you don’t, what do you do?
“Of course, it affects your career in a sense. But as I said, I don’t care. If I get seven scripts instead of 15, I’ll be absolutely fine. The seven I get are automatically filtered, which makes my work easier. “
Ayyub was closely involved in his college’s dramatic society, as was Zafar, his senior by a year. Zafar’s mission was simple – Shiva was to have the anger and passion they used to have for politics, theater and everything else.
A viral dialogue from the series quotes the freedom fighter Bhagat Singh – when Shiva says that the revolutionary taught young socialmediagossips to learn, but also to fight when the time came.
“Bhagat Singh is someone that everyone now wants to claim for himself. I don’t think they read it right, especially the right socialmediagossips, ”Ayyub said. The dialogue, he added, was received very deliberately as the show seeks to break the notion that students should only be concerned with studying and not participating in politics.
“Politics affects everything in your life, especially when you are in college. The type of education and the type of future you will receive will be decided by the policy makers. If I am a student and will be the future of this country, I should be aware of what is happening around me. “
Before joining DU, Ayyub said he was just a Delhi boy from Okhla with “typical technical ambitions”. Joining college and its theater company helped him understand the world around him better.
“I began to understand that I also had to get involved in politics in order to know what was going on around them. I felt like I had to go out and claim it back if something was stolen from me. The three years were like a transition period that strengthened my beliefs in myself, in my society and in my ideological beliefs. “
All major political parties have their student wings in DU colleges and vote in elections for a reason, he said. They all want to find strong young leaders.
There may be similarities between Shiva and student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid, but the role is not inspired by them, Ayyub said. Instead, Shiva is an amalgamation of all influential youth icons.
“There is no direct connection, but obviously socialmediagossips will try to find parallels with Kanhaiya or Umar. If the show had taken place in the 90s, we would have been talking about Chandrashekhar (Prasad, former president of the JNU student union, who was shot dead at a street rally in Siwan) “
Ayyub said he didn’t like the term “hero” and didn’t become an actor just to play positive characters. However, he’s glad he’s now getting roles in which he’s the central part of the story.
“For me, it’s more about the dignity of character. I finally get the job I want to do. I want to play writer-supported characters. “
As an actor, Ayyub said he wanted to have a positive impact on socialmediagossips and inspire them with the right characters.
“I want to be the kind of person who wants to change society and not just my life. If you belong to a particular class or community, you will often hear the line, “Somehow I have to get out of this place” in search of a better life or society. “I hate that philosophy.
“I think I am what I am because of the socialmediagossips around me. If I have to grow, I will grow with everyone. Otherwise, I’m fine where I am. I want to go on with everyone, not alone. “
Tandav with Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Sunil Grover, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Dino Morea, Kumud Mishra, Gauhar Khan and Kritika Kamra began streaming on Amazon Prime Video on Friday.
While Zafar created, directed, and produced the political drama with Himanshu Kishan Mehra, it was written by Gaurav Solanki, best known for Article 15.