Zaheer Iqbal, born on December 11, 1988, is a complete Mumbaikar. His full name is Zaheer Iqbal Ratansi, son of Iqbal Ratansi, a jewellery businessman and childhood friend of superstar Salman Khan. Though he comes from a non-filmi family, the youngster always aspired to find a footing in Bollywood.
Since his childhood, Zaheer Iqbal has been catching up on almost every film and his love for cinema grew further during his college days when he used to actively participate in theatre and other creative activities.
Though Zaheer's dad happens to be Salman Khan's childhood friend, he did not meet him much in his childhood. Khan's sister Arpita Khan Sharma and Zaheer studied in the same class. Salman would attend their school's annual day function and other small events where he used to see Zaheer always performing on stage. Salman, thus, would call Zaheer 'Hero'.
Zaheer Iqbal's Bollywood dream turned into reality in 2013 when Salman Khan spotted Iqbal at the latter's sister's sangeet.
Zaheer Iqbal shared his experience about how he told his friends jokingly that what if I am dancing in a wedding and all of a sudden Salman Khan spots me and says "yeh ladke k mein koi baat hai".
Zaheer Iqbal, reminiscing the day said, "We had shot a video of a story where my sister and brother-in-law win the local best couple award in 2025, and I was playing my brother-in-law's part and every time the song appeared in the video, I had to come on stage and dance to it. When I got off the stage, Salman (Khan) bhai happened to be there. He wasn't supposed to be there since he had a court case in Jaipur but that got pushed. So, he agreed on attending the function for ten minutes."
He further added, "Salman sir came when the performance had just begun and he sat through the entire one-hour performance because he enjoyed it so much. As soon as I got off the stage, he hugged me and said, 'I think, you should become an actor. You'll be loved onscreen, stop whatever you are doing and start training to become an actor.'"
"When I went to his place a few weeks later, he introduced me to his trainer and asked me to work out with him. A month later, he called me again. He told me, 'Remove your T-shirt. You make your body, I will make you a hero now," said Zaheer.
Zaheer Iqbal began his Bollywood journey with Salman Khan's 2014 film Jai Ho, where he served as an assistant director.
It was on the sets of Jai Ho, where Salman Khan started calling Zaheer as Zahero. Recalling the incident, Zaheer told mid-day, "Randomly, just one day, I was standing somewhere and he started calling me by saying, 'Zahero'. At first, I did not react or turn around. He again called, 'Zahero' and then someone told me 'Bhai is calling you.' I turned around and since then I never questioned him why he called me by that name because I loved the name. It's a really cool name to get. Since then people around me have caught on this name and everyone thinks that my name is Zahero."
After working as AD, it was only in 2016 that Salman Khan zeroed in on the script of Notebook and Zaheer got his big Bollywood break.
But it was not a cakewalk for Zaheer as the film apparently took a lot of years to finally get rolling. "I would occasionally lose patience as it took over five years for the film to roll. But Bhai told me the end result will be sweet," said Zaheer.
Zaheer Iqbal plays a matured, an optimistic go-getter, who looks at things in a very positive way in Notebook. The actor will be slipping into the shoes of a Kashmiri Pandit who hails from Kashmir. Helmed by Nitin Kakkar, Notebook is presented by Salman Khan Films and is a Cine1 Studios Production. It is produced by Salma Khan, Murad Khetani and Ashwin Varde and is all set to hit the screens on March 29, 2019.
Nutan's granddaughter and Mohnish Bahl's daughter Pranutan Bahl is also making her Bollywood debut alongside Zaheer.
Here's wishing Zaheer Iqbal all the very best for his first film Notebook!
These lesser seen photos of Zaheer Iqbal, who is making his Bollywood debut with Notebook alongside Mohnish Bahl's daughter Pranutan, are a must watch! Take a look (All photos/Zaheer Iqbal's Official Instagram Account)