Noted film and theatre actor and director Naseeruddin Shah on Thursday said that theatres have started replicating films by depending on set designs to show different scenes and somewhere the basic message of the theatre has been lost.
Delivering the Professor Zahida Zaidi Memorial lecuture at AMU, the versatile actor, also a Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan recipient, Shah recalled his journey from being an AMU student attending the Department of English to his illustrious career, adding he owed his success to Professor Zahida Zaidi.
Shah said she was “a feisty lady” in the English department of the university, who introduced him to Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer, Eugene Ionesco’s The Lesson and The Chairs, Edward Albee’s Zoo Story, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Anton Chekhov’s A Proposal and many other continental plays. “I still remember Zahida Apa (Prof Zahida Zaidi) for her ‘perceptiveness and intellectual capacity’, who introduced me to literature I might not otherwise have read,” he said.
“At the age of 17, I was sure to become an actor, but didn’t know how to pursue an acting career. My parents wanted me to follow the footsteps of my elder brothers, but I knew I couldn’t join IIT or qualify NDA,” said Shah adding that I was lucky to join AMU and have a teacher like Professor Zahida Zaidi, who took me to the National School of Drama (NSD) in Delhi and urged me to join NSD after graduating from the AMU.
“Prof Zaidi had then urged me to pursue a career in theatre and acting as she recognised my talents,” said Shah.
Prof Zaidi taught him that the real idea of theatre is to send across a message to the audience, which needs not be done with music, set designs and all the glamour, according to him.
While presiding over the function, AMU Vice Chancellor, Lt General Zameer Uddin Shah (Veteran) said that often people ask him as to how his brother, Naseeruddin Shah, became an actor. “I always quipped that my brother ran away from home to become an actor, but the reality is that he was lucky to attend AMU under the guidance of his teacher, Professor Zaidi, who showed him the right path to his career,” said General Shah.
He added that he can proudly say that his brother is best and the most versatile of actors in India and he never misses any of his movies.
General Shah pointed out that the success Naseeruddin Shah has received is because of the values he learnt as a student in the AMU.