Their characters in No One Killed Jessica shadow them wherever they go. Only, Myra Karn, who plays Jessica Lall in the movie, gets all the sympathy because she was "killed", and her "killer", Manu Sharma, played by Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, gets glares and abuses.
"Once, when I was
at a coffee shop, a youngster came up to me and said, 'Bade kaminey aadmi ho, yaar'. Not knowing what to say, I just mumbled, 'Thanks'," says Zeeshan, 27, a theatre actor from Delhi. He adds, "Even my parents and siblings joke, 'Ghar se itna late tak baahar rehte ho, yahi sab to nahi karte (you stay out till late; we hope you don't indulge in such activities)?"
However, he takes the criticism in his stride. "People hate me, and that's the biggest compliment for my performance," he says.
Meanwhile, his "victim" in the movie, Myra Karn, who plays Jessica Lall, evokes compassion from passers by and crowds. "I don't go out often, but whenever I do, people smile, and call me Jessica," she says.
The Delhi-based engineering student also has a 355-member Facebook fan-page devoted to her, and says she is "so very happy" with the response to her performance. "I came to know about the fan-page recently. People have also been sending me wishes on Twitter," she beams. Apart from one instance where a bunch of boys in a car called her a bhoot (ghost) in good humour, she says other strangers have been unusually kind.
"Even when I'm not at a crowded place, people seem to recognise me almost instantly, and it feels nice when they come up and tell me how brilliant I was in the film. (Filmmaker) Ashutosh Gowariker and (author) Chetan Bhagat personally praised me," she says.