‘I don’t think Chak De and Taare… are great films’-Naseeruddin Shah
By AksFilmi on April 2nd, 2008
Naseeruddin Shah tells Farhana Farook why he did an offbeat Pakistani film and why he finds the Bollywood tamasha ‘disturbing’ - DNA
What made you do the Pakistani film Khuda Ke Liye
I’ve been approached by Pakistani film-makers in the past perhaps because I’m a Muslim and also because my show Mirza Ghalib was very popular there. But I turned them down because even Bhojpuri cinema is better than those. But when director Shoaib Mansoor read out one scene to me, I was completely floored.Why?
It was very important for such a film to be made. It talks about what it is to be a moderate Muslim and takes on the argument that all ‘Muslims may not be terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims’ head on. It takes on the mullas and challenges their authority. It’s a courageous film to be made in Pakistan. The fact that the public of Pakistan took to it shows that their mindset has not been affected by the mullas. In India too the moderate Muslim must make his voice be heard. We should be worried about more important issues than Sania Mirza’s skirt. We should be worrying about why our children are hungry and uneducated.Having won much acclaim, are you satisfied as an actor?
I’m utterly bored of acting. I’ve completely given up hope about a decent film being made in the film industry. I don’t think Chak De India or Taare Zameen Par are great films. They are average. We are light years way from international standards. See a film like The Lives of Others and we send a film like Black to compete with it at the Oscars. We should be ashamed of ourselves. It’s like the famous story of the late Sohrab Modi (I don’t mean to run him down, he was a great filmmaker). He got a German cameraman to shoot his film Jhansi Ki Rani with an army of 10,000 people. He turned around to the cameraman and asked, ‘What do you think of the spectacle?’ He replied, ‘The spectacle is all fine but where is the drama?What do you enjoy doing then?
I find teaching satisfying. I spend a lot of time at Subhash Ghai’s academy. Theatre is stimulating. Life stimulates me too.You faced a trying time when Imaad (son and actor) was badly injured in a train accident…
Imaad is fine. But he has been very brave. Everybody commiserates with me and Ratna (Pathak, wife) for going through a bad phase. But we went through nothing when compared to him. I’ve not seen anybody bear pain with such dignity. My admiration for him has increased tenfold.You seem to share a great bond with your children (daughter Heeba Shah, sons Imaad and Vivaan)…
I shared a troubled relationship with my father. He couldn’t understand me. I was a different kettle of fish for him, an alien. He died before we could resolve our relationship. I feel deprived about what I could not share with my father. So, I had resolved that I wouldn’t let this happen to my children.You have no qualms working with debutant directors…
I was a newcomer once. I needed someone to have faith in me. If they hadn’t my life would have been different. I must have worked with more first-time makers than any other actor in the world and have never regretted it. I’ve often regretted working with veterans and established filmmakers.Would you be excited about doing a mature romance?
I wish somebody would explore it. I did it in my film Yun Hota to Kya Hota. But the critics said ‘we don’t want old people jumping around in bed’. As if old people don’t have romance in their hearts and love in their lives!http://filmikhabar.com/2008/04/02/2135/
_________________________________________________________________________________________He is so candid! I like that.