In conversation with Sheezan Mohammed
Recently I decided to interview Sheezan Mohammed, yes you heard it right. I am referring to the versatile, strong performer who currently stars in Star Plus’s Nazar 2. As an avid viewer of Nazar myself, I was left speechless from a few clips of Sheezan’s performance and thus wanted to know the guy behind Apurva. Whilst discussing his journey Sheezan reveals that his acting career was unplanned, “Although I knew that I was an entertainer when I was in school, I didn’t think of getting into acting so soon or getting into acting at all. So a few years back, during my summer holidays, a friend advised me to give an audition for Zee TVs Jodha Akbar since the makers were not able to find the character I played. Honestly, I was not doing much since it was the holidays and was free during that time so I gave it a shot. I never thought I would bag the role since I had no previous experience but I guess I was lucky and then worked really hard. There’s a saying that opportunity never comes knocking twice and so I just grabbed the opportunity and that’s how my journey began.”
For those that are unaware, Sheezan’s body of work ranges across several genres. From doing historical shows such as Jodha Akbar to now a supernatural such as Nazar, his career choices have been diverse and unique. So, I wanted to know what had been the influences in making these career decisions? To which Sheezan responded, “Honestly speaking, I believe it was luck that allowed me to play different characters from the previous ones. My first show was a historical (Jodha Akbar) and usually, actors avoid doing such shows as they can be stereotyped but I took it as a challenge as most actors don’t get the opportunity to play particular roles that too in their first show. I want to explore myself as an actor and I only do roles where I find them interesting and which gives me the urge to perform.” He adds, “The one thing that I look out for is how I can physically transform myself as per the character needs as most male characters on Indian TV do not have a different look. I believe every actor should look different in every role. My inspiration has been Tom Hanks and the way he transforms himself as the character. So that is why I try to do something completely different each time and that is what has probably influenced my decisions but overall luck has played a major role.”
Intrigued by his response I wanted to know whether there were any preparations that he had to undergo to get into the skin of Apurva. To which Sheezan responded, “To get into the skin of Apurva, I would like to add that I have a younger brother who has Asperger’s syndrome so whenever I play Apurva, I just think of my brother as he is my biggest inspiration. I never knew I was going to play such a character until the makers told me during the mock shoot. For me, playing Apurva is quite a task as I have to make sure that I can differentiate between being mentally unstable and disturbed. At the same time, it was relatively easy since I took inspiration from my brother’s body language, behaviour and speech and adapted it when playing Apurva and even one of my previous character Raghav in Ek Thi Rani Ek Tha Ravaan.”
Whilst watching Nazar 2, I noticed that the cast dynamics translated excellently onscreen. So, I asked Sheezan what his dynamics are like with the cast. To this, he responded, “The dynamics I share between my co-actors have always been very warm. I love working in a positive environment and hence try to spread positivity. I don’t recall any such incidents where there has been a fallout with any of my co-actors in any of my projects. My priority is to make my co-actors feel comfortable and make sure that they are respected.” I then asked about his dynamic with Shruti, to which he added, “I would like to say that she is a brilliant actress and very helpful. Some co-stars are not open to improvisation but she is.” Well, the positive dynamics are definitely visible on-screen.
Since Nazar 2 is not a typical Hindi serial I asked Sheezan what his favourite scene(s) have been to shoot thus far. Sheezan responded with, “To choose my favourite scene will be kind of difficult as I have shot so many beautiful scenes with my co-actors. However, the scene I enjoyed the most was the Holi sequence which we shot a few days ago. As I did not get a chance to play Holi this year but I eventually got to because of Nazar 2 so this sequence has to be my favourite until now.” If fans are wondering, the Holi sequence will air this week so do not forget to check it out.
Nazar 2 is doing incredibly well for its 11 pm slot so I asked him what he thought made it successful in a short period. Sheezan responded, “Nazar has always been a popular show and its evident as it was originally a 100-episode finite series which crossed over 400 episodes and that’s down to the fact that people are loving the storyline, the characters and the binary opposition between good vs evil. But yes, I was pretty nervous since I did not know whether people would accept us since most viewers do not like it when the storyline, cast etc change overnight but I feel truly blessed because the viewers have accepted the new storyline and cast and have respected our team efforts. So, the credit goes to the fans.”
As I’ve mentioned earlier, Sheezan has done serials across a range of multiple genres. So, I wanted to know if there is any particular genre that he wished the television industry would explore. Interestingly, Sheezan responded with, “Not really. As an actor, I could say a lot of things like I wish they make shows like they do in the US/UK but honestly the whole TV industry works for the audience. If my audience is not ready to accept certain genres or types of storytelling then no matter how good or bad the industry produces this type of content, it will simply not work. Whatever shows we are currently producing reflects the audience’s taste. Therefore, it is not that we cannot produce good content, we can, but the public has to like it. There has to be sufficient demand for that particular genre, storytelling for us to make that particular type of content.”
Besides acting, if you have not checked Sheezan’s Instagram, please do since the fellow actor also sings and plays the guitar. Moreover, in his recent interviews, Sheezan has stated that he is a musical person, so I wanted to know if he would ever consider expanding his repertoire and look into singing and/or composing. Sheezan responded, “Yes, I am a musical person. I cannot spend a day without listening to music. I also write and play the guitar, so yes if in the future I get a chance then I would love to sing for sure.” I then probed if there was a chance of getting to hear him sing on Nazar 2 since Apurva plays the harmonica. Sheezan who laughed added “If the makers want me to sing, I will sing. If there is a sequence where I have to play the guitar and/or sing, I will do it.”
As my main purpose was to get to know the guy behind Apurva, I and many of Sheezan’s fans wondered what his favourite hobbies are when he is not shooting. To which he responded, “Although I love to shoot and go to work, when I am not shooting I watch a lot of movies and Netflix. I love watching everything. I am also a big-time foodie. Though I gym, I can never give up carbs and tasty food.” Well there you go, that is Sheezan for the fans.
Finally, Sheezan decided to give a quick message for all of his fans, “Thank you for accepting me as Apurva on Nazar 2 and for loving and supporting me in all my previous shows. I promise to work harder and entertain you all Inshallah.”