Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi will come together again, after 19 years, in Rice Plate
Two of Hindi filmdom's best known actors, Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi, have come together after 19 years for the film Rice Plate, which is the directorial debut of TV star Rohit Roy.
"Rohit doesn't know how lucky he is. In all these years I've waited to direct Naseer and Shabana, and never got the chance," Sanjay Gupta, the producer of the film, told IANS.
"I started my career as an assistant to Pankuj Parasher in Jalwa where Naseer was the hero. Today, I'm producing a film where he stars. Wow!"
The 10-minute-long film will be part of a series entitled Dus Kahaniyan. It goes into the touchy topic of the communal divide in Mumbai.
Shabana, who plays an orthodox Tamil Brahmin in Rice Plate, has been preparing for the past two weeks, visiting Tamil women, getting her accent, tone and gait right.
This isn't the first time she plays a Tamilian, having played such a role in Mahesh Dattani's Morning Raga.
Naseer plays a Muslim man. To be shot on the Bandra railway station, the film is about a life-changing chance encounter between these two strangers from totally different cultural zones.
"What's truly remarkable about this short film is that neither Naseer nor Shabana will speak a word," added Gupta.
Together, the two actors changed the face, quality, content and ramifications of Hindi cinema in the 1970s with an endless outpouring of masterpieces like Paar, Sparsh and Masoom.
But after giving memorable performances, the two stalwarts drifted apart, especially after Naseer, in one of his humorously unguarded moments, said Shabana was completely in love with herself.
The last film the dynamic duo did together was Gulzar's unreleased Libaas in 1988. While Shabana never stopped craving to be in another film with her favourite co-star, Naseer was far more cautious.
"I can't do just any film with Shabana just because she's keen to work with me. The vehicle is to justify our collective presence," said Naseer.