Zakir Hussain is an Indian film and television character actor who is known for his negative and comic roles. His best known performances include those of Rashid in Ramgopal Varma's 2005 film Sarkar, and Shardul in Sriram Raghavan's 2007 film Johnny Gaddaar. Zakir Hussain was born and brought up in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. It was during his studies in Delhi that he first got attracted to the world of theater and cinema. He started out with "small time" theater, and then joined the Shri Ram Center of Performing Arts. He then joined the prestigious National School of Drama, passing out in 1993. Hussain did theater for a few years and then came to Mumbai to work in television and films. He started out with serials like Firdaus, Kitty Party and Gaatha, and this earned him recognition. Sriram Raghavan's 2004 film Ek Hasina Thi was his first film as actor. Hussain's role in the film was limited to two scenes, but he managed to impress director Ramgopal Varma who then offered him the role of Rashid in Sarkar. This role of a cold blooded villain was much appreciated and Hussain received the "New Menace" award at the 2006 Stardust Film Awards. After Sarkar, Varma cast Hussain in almost every production of his. Hussain's second noteworthy performance was his role of Shardul in another Raghavan film - Johnny Gaddaar. This performance was so well received by audiences that people on the streets started addressing Hussain as Shardul. This was the film that brought him both decent pay cheques as well as fame.