Malaal, which launched the multi-faceted Jaaved Jaffrey’s son Meezan along with Sanjay Bhansali’s niece Sharmin, has opened to tepid reviews and discouraging collections. But Meezan is the one element of this labour of love that in Malaal that’s come off with flying colours.
When I catch up with Meezaan on the day after release he had just finished another day of hectic promotions. “I have given three years of my life to Malaal. To see it in theatres in the beautiful shape that it has taken, is a very big deal for me. To be launched by Sanjay sir (Bhansali) is every aspiring actor’s dream. I owe my career to him. That he saw some spark in me and signed me for not just one but three films is more than I had ever hoped for,” says Meezaan.
The enormously talented youngster admits it hasn’t been a career advantage to have Jaaved Jaffrey as a father . “He was not a Shah Rukh Khan. So doors didn’t open for me when I decided to become an actor. He never got his dues in this industry. So I was never given access into big production houses. I have faced my share of slammed doors on my face.”
The reviews of Malaal have all praised Meezaan. But he isn’t getting carried away by the attention. “I’ve seen too much struggle and too many failures in my family. My grandfather (the veteran comedian Jagdeep) never got the recognition he deserved. The same goes for my father. I know I can’t take my success for granted, if and when it comes. And even if I were to get carried away, my family is there to pull back to earth. It is very important to have a realistic support system at work. My parents have always been very strict with me. That isn’t likely to change just because I am an actor now.”
As Meezaan gets widely noticed for his performance in Malaal, he looks ahead at a fruitful career. “I’ve grown up on the films of the great Mr Dilip Kumar and the great Mr Amitabh Bachchan. Their films were constantly played in our home. I grew up knowing these were the touchstones of acting.”
What one notices immediately about Meezaan is his outstanding dancing skills. A legacy of his father, perhaps, though he doesn’t dance anything like any other dancing heroes of Bollywoood including his father.
Meezaan perks up. “I am glad you noticed that. My father and my uncle (Naved Jaffrey) have also told me that I’ve my own dancing style. I never cultivated a dancing or acting style because acting was not my first career option until recently. Now that I’m here. I am here to stay. I wish Malaal had got a better opening. Maybe we should have promoted the film better. Or maybe we could’ve done certain things during the shooting differently. When you are so close to a project for three years you lose your objectivity. But that’s okay. I am proud of every frame of Malaal.”