A bit of empathy? What if your dad was really good at whatever it is you’re doing? How would that feel? So perhaps we just won’t mention that Shah. But when you meet Imaad Shah, the young wastrel of Dil,Dosti,Etc. and Artaxerxes of Sooni Taraporevala’s Little Zizou, which releases on March 13, there’s that face peering intently out at you. Still, at 23, there’s enough to keep us going and we won’t mention the Shah of the art-house.
And anyway, Imaad Shah’s performance in Little Zizou is one of those faultless pieces of restraint. He never punches the lines, never steps out of his angsty graphic artist/elder brother persona.
This self-effacement forces you to reach out to him.. you’re doing the work because you want to know who Artaxerxes is.
It’s about as good as anything you’re likely to see this year.
You fell out of a train. How did that happen?
I have no idea. It was an ordinary day. I took my bike. I parked it at Bandra station. I got on to the train to Churchgate. Next thing I know.. I woke up in hospital.
You’re telling me. I lay there for half an hour. I was hanging out of the train, I suppose. I mean, if you’re going to travel in a Mumbai local at eight in the morning, you have to get some breathing space. I thought I had it figured.. I would get in after everyone else. I guess I didn’t. Or it was a bad day.
So now you’ve had your life-changing experience, if you had to choose between your music and films, what would it be?
I don’t think I would need to make that choice. I mean, I write. I want to write films. I want to direct. I’ve made a couple of shorts with my friends. We shoot a lot. And my music feeds into that. If you’re thinking cinema, that’s audio-visual and everything counts.. word and music, so it would be counterproductive to choose one over the other.
But shouldn’t you be choosing one form and dedicating yourself to perfecting..
Don’t. That’s the kind of stuff my family is always giving me because that’s what they did. I don’t think there’s anything to it. It’s an old-fashioned way of looking at things.
In Little Zizou, you play Artaxerxes, the disaffected son of a fundamentalist Parsi father. How did you go about preparing to play a Parsi?
My mother grew up in Dadar Parsi Colony. So, I could have done the accent but I thought I’d rather go with this guy’s angst. I mean, he’s the kind of liberal guy who distances himself from his father’s stance on keeping the bloodlines of the Parsis pure so I thought, “This kind of guy is going to speak a bit of Hindi, he’s going to spend most of his time outside the house.. so he’s going to know more non-Parsis than Parsis, so he doesn’t have to be classic bawa.”
Did you use your relationship with your brother to relate to your screen brother, Zizou?
My brother’s only three years younger and in the film there’s a much bigger age gap but yeah, lot’s of déjà vu happened.