From saying that the story of Masoom (1983) isn’t relevant today to approving of his sons’ movie choices, Naseeruddin Shah doesn’t mince words. In this chat, he speaks about all that and more.
You have said you weren’t keen on remaking Masoom (1983). Are you against remakes per se?
I’ve absolutely no say in the matter. If someone wants to remake Masoom, let them go ahead. I probably won’t see it or be part of it. Why would you want to remake a movie that’s practically perfect?
With Facebook and Google, isn’t it unlikely that a 12-year-old boy wouldn’t be able to contact his father? That story won’t hold any water today. As for remakes, per se, I don’t care. Lots of films, which have been remade, shouldn’t even have been made in the first place.
Both your sons Imaad and Vivaan have had good starts in Bollywood. What do you think of their film choices?
They are still struggling in their careers, and they should go through their period of struggle. You can’t escape that. Those who become successful without struggling have to
possibly face it later. It’s better that they go through it when they are young and strong. Imaad was offered the lead role in Iqbal (2005) which he couldn’t do as he had his final exams. Had he started with that his career might have taken a different route.
Your wife and sons are actors as well. Do people take advantage of this fact and offer you roles together?
Yes, but most are exploitative offers. People approach Ratna (Pathak Shah, wife) or the boys with a purpose of getting me to play the father or the husband. Unless it’s something fun like Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na (2008) we don’t consider them.
Who did you enjoy working with more — Madhuri Dixit in this film or Vidya Balan in Ishqiya (2010)?
They are both lovely in their own ways. Vidya has been acting since she was a child and even did a TV serial with my daughter (Heeba) ages ago, when they were both 12 or something. She (Vidya) has a marvellous presence on screen and she has proved her acting chops too. And Madhuri is Madhuri; she doesn’t need certificates from me.
But she recently said that she was nervous about acting with you.
I don’t believe that. She’s absolutely confident and got her act worked out perfectly. Our ways of working are different. She likes to plan things shot by shot, like Pankaj Kapur. We got along well as we both have high regard for each other.
You play a romantic character in the Ishiqya franchise. How romantic are you in real life?
I don’t think most people who know me would describe me as romantic. But I have my own idea of romance.
How was it teaming up with Arshad (Warsi) again?
It was fantastic. I’ve liked Arshad since I saw his first film, Tere Mere Sapne (1996). Bahut papad belen hain Arshad ne (Arshad has struggled a lot). He brings his life experiences to his acting. I felt that he was the star of Munna Bhai MBBS (2003) as the way he supported the main character was superb. I was impressed that he didn’t upstage the main actor, who couldn’t dance at all. He is one of the funniest guys I have ever met. He’s capable of depth, which he showed in Seher (2005). He shouldn’t make the mistake of limiting himself to comic parts. He should do other roles as well as he can do them damn well.