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, while her ‘murderer’, 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’ (You are a real rascal). Not knowing what to say, I just mumbled, ‘thanks’,” says Ayyub, 27, a theatre actor from Delhi.
Good to be bad
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 too often, but whenever I do, people smile at me and call me by my character’s name, 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 found out about the fan-page recently. People have also been sending me good 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 that other strangers have been unusually kind to her.
“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.
The film, No One Killed Jessica, stars Rani Mukherji as a reporter and Vidya Balan as Sabrina Lall.