Zeeshan Ayyub says he was jobless for 6 months after the Tandav controversy and was betrayed by people he trusted: ‘Projects were taken away

Actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub spoke about the difficulties he experienced in the wake of the Tandav row, and what he discovered about the true nature of Bollywood.

Zeeshan Ayyub in Tandav

Actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub found himself at the center of a major controversy after a scene featuring him in the Prime Video series Tandav was singled out by a certain section of the society, on the grounds that it offended their religious beliefs. He addressed the situation in a new interview and also spoke about how it impacted his career.

Zeeshan spoke to the Lallantop, where he was asked how he navigated the controversy, which led to several FIRs against the core team of the series, as well as a Prime Video executive. He said that he was out of work for six months and that people he trusted went back on their word and pulled him from projects. It was also the first time that he felt that he must reach out and ask for work.

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He said in Hindi, “We all know what happened after Tandav… The cases, the media trial, the social media trial; all the difficulties, the tension, the humiliation… It wasn’t a good time, especially the first 10 or 12 days, which were very troubling. But then, slowly, it died down and went in a different direction when agendas became clear. But I understood one thing about this industry, people whom I trusted, people whose names I don’t want to take, left me hanging. Projects I was almost signed for were taken away, and they all made excuses and said that it was for my own good.”

He continued, “It taught me a lot about this industry, that a lot of people are opportunistic. Very few people have a spine. It was a bad time, I didn’t work for six months, but it was a blessing in disguise. I decided after that to only do the work I want to, and I feel passionately about.” He said that for the first time, he reached out to people and asked for work. He contacted Samir Nair, through whom he was cast in the show Bloody Brothers. It was during this time that he reached out to Hansal Mehta, who later cast him in Scoop. Zeeshan also contacted Zoya Akhtar.

In an earlier interview with Siddharth Kannan, he said that he avoids reaching out to people for work, but wondered if he should. His wife Rasika Agashe, who was also a part of the interaction, interjected and said that she wouldn’t like that. Created and directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, Tandav featured an all-star cast that included Saif Ali Khan and Dimple Kapadia. The political drama received poor reviews and was altered after the backlash against the controversial scenes.

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