Why this obsession with box office figures?
Zeeshan believes, as actors you get judged by your performance and not the box office success of your film
Ever since the announcement of Shah Rukh starrer Zero was made, audience were counting days for its theatrical release. However, their wait didn't really pay off as the movie bombed at the box office. In the first three weeks, it managed to rake in a total of 88.8 crores only. But Zeeshan Ayyub, who plays the quintessential role of Guddu Singh, alongside SRK in the film, doesn't find it worth fussing about. In fact, he doesn't see a film's success in the light of box office numbers, and finds the whole concept quite disturbing.
"I get really disturbed at how everyone nowadays is talking about the collection and not the films. Even the general public, who used to watch a film for entertainment, is now indulging in money matters. But my question is, how is it their concern? If you ask me, even the director should not be worried about the box office collection. Our job is to make a good movie for the audience; rest is the producers' concern. Having said that, I agree that money is an essential aspect of filmmaking," says Zeeshan.
But does he feel that box office success actually decides the amount of work one gets in the industry?
"Maybe… to an extent. But I don't feel it's true in my case. I am getting an immense amount of work after the release of Thugs… and Zero, even though the movies crashed at the box office. I believe, as actors you get judged by your performance and not how much money your film earns," asserts Zeeshan.
Despite putting all the efforts to bring versatility in every character which he plays, Zeeshan was burdened with the tag of 'Hero's friend'. An actor as good as him would have saved his best for a lead role (and not a supporting one), but Zeeshan sees it with a different angle. He says, they sign me for such roles over and over again because of their trust in me. "They believe I can put life into a character which might not have been properly carved out at the writing stage. In a way, they use me to lift up the story when the script falls flat and I feel good about it." "But I don't wish to play this character for some time," he adds. First reason behind this decision is his hunger to explore different arenas while second is the hypocrisy of the film industry.
Elaborating on the same, Zeeshan says, "If the same character (one I played in Raees or Zero) was to be played by any other A-lister of Bollywood, nobody would have addressed him as 'Hero ka dost' (Hero's friend). Instead, they would have seen it as a film with two actors; where one is in a slightly more prominent role than the other.'"
Moreover, "Working alongside leading actors shifts all spotlight to them irrespective of how good your performance is. The movie is marketed with their name on the banner and that's why the audience wants to see nothing but them. I completely understand the marketing strategies and other reasons behind it. But when you sign a movie as a second lead, and in the process are reduced to a secondary character of the movie, it feels bad," he concludes.