Back from Pakistan where he was shooting for Zinda Bhag, “a Lahori-Punjabi film”, Naseeruddin Shah is impressed by the youth of our neighbouring country.
“Zinda Bhag is a true story about illegal immigrants, about people who flee Pakistan for Dubai, England and Canada, and while I was there, I found that the educated youth of Pakistan are taking this problem very seriously,” says Shah. “I went out a lot and was surprised to see so many girls come up and tell me that they want to change this situation. Many of them wanted to take up media studies to make a difference.”
Zinda Bhag is a realistic film, exactly the kind that Shah prefers doing. But though films like The Dirty Picture (2011) and Paan Singh Tomar (2012) have done very well in the recent past, the actor doesn’t believe that realism is trending in Bollywood.
“These were all one-off films, you know,” he says. “Who else has made A Wednesday (2008)? Who else will make a Paan Singh? These things don’t really become trends.”
Now busy with the Motley Theatre Festival, he will shortly start working on John Day, a revenge drama produced by Anjum Rizvi, who had earlier produced A Wednesday in which Shah had also starred.
In John Day, Shah will share screen space with Randeep Hooda, with whom he had earlier worked with in Monsoon Wedding (2001).
“During Monsoon Wedding, Randeep was still new and I’m very nervous about working with him now because he has become a star, and I am still where I was,” jokes Shah.