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Zayed Khan @ 40: Five much loved on-screen characters he’s essayed

The name Khan evokes a certain charisma in Hindi Cinema. Known for his stylish, suave yet humble demeanour, Zayed Khan is one actor who is recognised for his hard work and has been admired for his talent.

After completing his studies in Business Management and Film Making, Khan made his acting debut opposite Esha Deol in ‘Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne’ (2003). Choreographer turned director Farah Khan happened to catch a glimpse of the film’s rushes, in which she spotted Khan’s praised performance. His smile, playful and endearing on-screen persona was exactly what she needed for the role of ‘Lucky’ in her directorial debut, ‘Main Hoon Na’ (2004). Commended for his acting, dancing and on-screen chemistry with his co-stars, the film went on to become one of the biggest hits of 2004 and paved the way for his career in Hindi Cinema.

Celebrating his 40th  birthday, takes a look at five characters played by Zayed that have been greatly appreciated by the audiences.

Lakshman Prasad Sharma in ‘Main Hoon Na’ (2004)
Lovingly known to all as Lucky. Long hair, ripped jeans and studded leather boots are his signature style! A cool dude, a little rebellious but a true sweetheart who makes the rest of his batchmates dance and have fun on the college campus.

Unknown to Lucky, he has a long-lost half-brother, Major Ram Prasad Sharma (Shah Rukh Khan) who comes to the college posing as a student, undercover! His mission is to find Lucky and protect Sanjana, A.K.A. Sanju (Amrita Rao). Sanju is Lucky’s best friend and the daughter of an army general who’s being targeted by a terrorist, willing to do anything to prevent ‘Project Milaap’. An endeavor that aims to end the long feuding Indo-Pak war.

Sanju has a soft spot for Lucky, however he cannot see past her artificial tomboy looks, leaving her sad. With the help of her new friend Ram and their classy chemistry teacher Miss Chandni (Sushmita Sen), Sanju ditches her jeans and frayed jumpers for pretty kurti churidars and matching bangles. Blown away by Sanju’s true look, Lucky falls in love and conveys his feelings through the much loved rocking qawwali, ‘Tumse Milke Dil Ka’. With attaining just 3.5 marks in Mrs Kakkad’s (Bindu) Hindi class last semester, Lucky seriously needs to hit the library instead of hanging in the cafeteria, if he wants to graduate this year!

Khan’s talent shone bright through the character of Lucky and resulted in him being nominated for a Filmfare Award for the role.

Karan Srivastav in ‘Vaada’ (2005)
Smart, intriguing but a terrifyingly obsessive guy who threatens the love between newlywed Pooja Sharma (Amisha Patel) and her blind husband, Rahul Verma (Arjun Rampal). Many fall prey to Karan’s innocent looks, charm and sweet words which are heard in the emotive song, ‘Main Ishq Uska’. Little do they know that they are just a camouflage to his dark dynamism and psychotic streak.

Pooja meets with Karan and both fall in love with each other. When Pooja’s father, Mr Sharma (Alok Nath) becomes aware of their relationship, he disapproves of Karan as he has no steady job, no stable accommodation and forbids Pooja to continue her relationship with him. Karan doesn’t help matters when he gets into a physical argument with Mr Sharma, witnessed by Pooja, after which she asks Karan to stay away.

Karan is heartbroken and is advised by his friend Rahul to get a job, buy a house and then re-approach Mr Sharma for his daughter’s hand in marriage . Karan goes abroad, gets a job, saves enough money to buy a house and returns to India, only to find out Pooja is married to none other than Rahul himself. Rahul is unaware of their past relationship and things go seriously wrong when Pooja is found dead. Nothing is what it seems.

Zayed’s highly praised and remarkable performance playing the disturbed young man Karan had the audiences on the edge of their seats throughout and definitely surprised them.

Aditya Singh in ‘Dus’ (2005)
Cheeky, a little geeky but a crackerjack explosives expert working for India’s Anti-Terrorist Cell (ATC). With trendy threads, stylish shades and a sophisticated hairstyle, Aditya a true shehri babu (city guy). Reliable, caring, and truly a good friend.

He works alongside Siddhant (Sanjay Dutt) and Shashank Dheer (Abhishek Bachchan), two brothers who become his closest friends. Siddhant and Shashank also have a sister, Anu (Dia Mirza). Aditya and Anu have feelings for one another, but since the risk of Aditya losing his life due to the nature of his job is high, he heavy heartedly feels it would be unfair to Anu, if he was to wed her. Karan’s nature is eccentric but harmless. His whacky one-liners and cracking jokes in the most serious of situations irritates Shashank, but their friendship is filled with love and respect.

The team receive intelligence that terrorists are planning a major strike in Canada. Shashank, and Aditya fly out there and team up with Canadian Police Officer Danish (Sunil Shetty), only to find themselves entrapped in a web of deceit and lies, with no clues as to who is behind the threat.

Khan’s superb portrayal of an explosives expert saw him using his presence of mind and skills to diffuse bombs. This interlaced with his gripping action sequences took the audiences on an emotional yet thrilling ride, leaving them rocking to the film’s hit title track, ‘Dus Bahane Karke Le Gaye Dil’ …Le Gaye Dil!!

Sandeep Arora (Sandy) in ‘Speed’ (2007):
A sweet and happy-go-lucky boy who comes to London to convince his annoyed girlfriend Sanjana (Tanushree Dutta) to give him another chance to prove his love for her. Even if that means pursuing her through the busy streets of central London, apologising, singing and showering her with innocent affection. Sandy lovingly reveals the situation to the audience through the charming song, ‘Wanna Wanna’.

Siddharth Verma (Sanjay Suri) is a London based undercover agent for the Secret Service. His life is about to be turned upside down when his wife, Richa Verma (Urmila Matondkar) is kidnapped and held to ransom.Richa starts trying to escape, her only glimmer of hope is the phone call she accidentally makes to Sandy.

Sandy is in touch with her throughout the film on his mobile phone, continuously talking to her and giving her moral support. As Sandy decides to help Richa, the love of his life, Sanjana gets further annoyed and threatens to break up again.

Khan’s role of the sweet and care-free Sandy trying to win-over his sweetheart was adored by the audiences. They went onto appreciate that a guy who never took anything seriously, risked his own life to save an unknown family just because of a phone call.

Jai Malhotra in ‘Love Break Ups Zindagi’ (2011)
The dashing Delhi boy from next door. Marketing is his forte! Intelligent, kind-hearted, sociable and fun. You’ll never be bored or sad when Jai’s around because his caring nature and comic streak will have you laughing and feeling good.

Jai and Naina (Dia Mirza) may have chosen their respective partners, but it doesn’t take long before they realise they have made the wrong choice. At his close friend’s extended wedding in Chandigarh and in true Punjabi style, Jai is seen fondly catching up with the family, helping with the wedding functions, lovingly applying haldi to the groom, dancing in the sangeet, whilst enjoying crunchy pakoray and crisp jalebis. These tender scenes are stunningly captured in the heartfelt song, ‘Rab Rakha’.

The setting makes it even more easy for the sparks to fly between Jai and Naina (best friend of the bride), bringing them close to each other whilst their partners are busy with their careers and worldly affairs. Jai, Naina and their friends try to find personal truths, shed illusions, laugh, cry, grow up and learn the biggest lesson of all. That even if you don’t go looking for love, it will come looking for you.

Khan’s performance as Jai, the young marketing executive in this heart-warming, true to life film was wonderful and endearing to the cinemagoers. It was also his debut as a producer.

The team at wishes Zayed Khan a very happy 40th birthday and hopes he continues to entertain the audiences with his terrific work, both on and off-screen.