With actors such as Irrfan, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra making it big in Hollywood, this seems to be a great time for Bollywood actors. But veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah, who was last seen in Waiting, feels that they’ll soon be back.
What does he feel about the excitement around Indian actors going to Hollywood? “Humesha se hi tha excitement! (It was always there). Hindi actors have always been dying to go to Hollywood. They would give their arms to go to there. It’s like Pakistani actors are dying to come to India. Pakistani people consider Bollywood to be the ultimate! I go there and they say ’waah kya films banai hai’,” says an ever amused Shah but adds in a stern tone, “These people who are tom-tomming their entry into Hollywood are all going to come back very soon. Because Hollywood has no place for an Asian to play a lead. It’s a one-off thing.”
The 66-year-old, who has worked in the Hollywood film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003, hopes that Bollywood gets inspired from the West in a more concrete manner. “We have always been aping Hollywood but only in the superficial manner. The glitz and the glamour! The fact is that mainstream Hollywood will still back a film like Whiplash, Nightcrawler, King’s Speech, Spotlight. Which of our films would back a daring film like Spotlight? Not one. That’s the difference between us and Hollywood,” says the actor.
After working in the film industry for 41 years, Shah has delivered power-packed performances in many films such as Masoom (1983), Sparsh (1980) and Iqbal (2005). However, such performances do not drain the three-time National award winning actor. “I don’t find acting emotionally draining. People who find it emotionally draining are actors who don’t know how to ration their supply of emotion. If you keep emoting all the time, you will get exhausted. This was something that I used to do early on in my career. So, over the years, I have learnt to ration myself and use my acting sparingly. It’s a precious and valuable resource,” says Shah.
Watch the trailer of Waiting here: