Actor Meezaan Jafri says he may have been born into a Bollywood family but that has not given him any privilege in terms of the work he gets. Meezaan is the son of seasoned actor Jaaved Jaaferi and grandson of veteran Jagdeep. “It is a privilege to be born with the Jaferi title because of the way I was raised, the talent that was passed on to me. Other than that, there are no other privileges,” Meezaan said in a candid conversation with indianexpress.com.
He added that it is time for his father to lead a carefree life after toiling all these years. “I work so I can grab my phone and say to someone, ‘Take my dad.’ That’s what I want to do. He has worked very hard to give us a great life. It is high time to take over that responsibility from him,” said Meezaan with emotion.
Meezaan is gearing up for the release of his second film – Hungama 2 on July 23rd on Disney Plus Hotstar. It also marks director Priyadarshan’s return to Hindi films after an eight-year hiatus. “It’s a Priyadarshan classic and I really wish people would watch it for it.” But was he a hard teacher? “I was never afraid near Priyadarshan, sir. We were on a laid back level. I knew he would handle me and my performance. I think I was more hesitant from the cast.”
Meezaan explained why the cast intimidated him and revealed that his first day of shooting was with actors Paresh Rawal, Ashutosh Rana and Manoj Joshi. But Paresh Rawal made it easy for him. “I was in the middle of three legends and was so nervous that I kept giving retakes. Then Mr. Paresh said to me, ‘Forget whether you’re doing it right or wrong, because you’re doing great.’ That helped me open up and gain confidence,” the actor said, adding that despite being the youngest, the whole team treated him like a friend.
Hungama 2 is a comedy of errors, and based on the similar theme of the prequel Hungama (2003), where Paresh Rawal’s character believes his wife (Shilpa) is having an extramarital affair with a young guy (Meezaan). The new addition is actor Pranitha Subhash who appears with a child claiming to be Meezaan’s. The situational comedy also has Meezaan romanticizing Shilpa in the remade version of her blockbuster song “Chura Ke Dil Mera” by Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994).
“I first met Shilpa on the set of the song. At first I was scared because she’s a senior actor, there’s a big age difference, so I was wondering how I would approach her and stuff. But she made it easy. It’s important for a senior actor to do that. She is such a lively person, she brings this energy and positivity to the set. I just love her!” Meezaan said adding that he is grateful for having “a friend like her in the industry.”
Meezaan Jafri made his Bollywood debut alongside Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s niece Sharmin Segal in Malaal (2019). (Photo: Instagram/meezaanj)
Meezaan made his Bollywood debut in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s 2019 production Malaal, after joining him in Padmaavat. Meezaan recalled how it taught him much more than what he had learned in film school, saying: “When I was on the set of Bhansali Sir, I didn’t get a break to go to the toilet. I stood there clapping for hours. Though after the shooting my job as an assistant was over but I stayed to see what instructions Mr Bhansali gave to the actor, how the actor prepared and all the technical stuff.
He also told about things he learned at home. Meezaan elaborated on growing up in such a movie-like household, saying: “It never prepared me to be in front of the camera. It prepared me how to be when I’m not in front of the camera. I always saw my dad outside. the camera. At the end of the day you have to know how to deal with success, how to deal with people. I will work on my craft, but the interactions on a fundamental human level move one forward. Just be yourself, don’t be fake.”
Meezaan Jafri together with father Jaaved Jaafri. (Photo: Instagram/meezaanj)
Meezaan’s family has probably given the Indian TV audience India’s first dance reality show in the 90s – Boogie Woogie, which was produced, created and judged by his uncle Naved Jaffrey, actor Ravi Behl and his father. “For our family, recording it was like an outing. So I’ve been to his sets quite a lot. When you grow up, you see and understand many things that you do not realize. I didn’t know then that I was going to be an actor. Today I am grateful that I was able to experience all of that as a child,” said Meezaan about his childhood memories.
He agreed that he inherited his dancing genes from his father. “I never learned to dance. Since childhood, I danced with my father, whether it was a party or wedding. You will always see me on the dance floor.”
Now that he’s found a comfortable place in the industry, will he be affected when his personal life comes into the public eye, such as the recent rumor of being associated with Navya Naveli Nanda? He said that while it was unfair to judge things, he understood the pros and cons of the profession. “Involving other people can affect them because they have not chosen this profession, have not chosen to make their lives public. Every time I’ve said something, something else has been written and then portrayed in a completely different way. I’ve caused enough Hungama already, so I don’t really care now,” he concluded.