For a guy his age, 27-year-old son of veteran actors Nasseruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah, Imaad Shah has an enviable repertoire of work to his credit. We caught up with the actor on his role in filmmaker Mira Nair’s upcoming movie, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, his relationship with his parents and his future projects.
Tell us about your role in the film
I’m playing a young Lahori lad, Samir, who is Mira’s addition to the original text. I actually got a call from Mira’s casting director to read for the lead part but Mira said I looked too anti establishment to play an Americanised Wall Street shark. Samir works with the University around which the story is set and mobilises the student body towards a cause and unwittingly becomes a turning point for the climax.
How was it working with Mira Nair?
She has an extremely strong visual sense and is great with actors. Her films have a lot of local flavour, so it was very interesting exploring and even improvising with a Punjabi-Urdu dialect common in Lahore and Pakistani Punjab.
You are also a part of M Cream, an unconventional movie helmed by a newcomer. Did you have your doubts before you signed up for it?
Yes, initially I was apprehensive, but that film too has had a learning curve for me as an actor. The gruelling two-month shoot in Himachal Pradesh and Delhi was quite an adventure.
Do comparisons with your parents unnerve you? Do they interfere with your work?
I prefer to concentrate on constant reinvention and improvement. Also by now, they are at a strong level of objectivity and distance from the mainstream film industry. We treat each other like complete equals, and they are my friends first.
Films, music, theatre, writing. Is there anything else that you will be adding to your CV?
I’ve made a few short films and plan on directing a feature soon with my gang of collaborators. I write, shoot, edit and score myself. These days, however, I’m concentrating a lot on my Electro Funk/Swing act called Madboy/Mink.