Imaad Shah is a man of many talents. Not only has he acted in award-winning films like Little Zizou (2008), but he is also one part of an electro-funk musical duo called Madboy/ Mink. Here, we speak to the actor-musician about balancing films and music and his film-making aspirations.
Why don’t we see you in movies more often?
I haven’t been doing a lot of film acting in the last couple of years because my band, Madboy/Mink, has been consuming all my time. The tour schedules have been busy, so it has taken up a large chunk of my life. But now, I am looking forward to doing interesting and meaty acting work. I want to play characters that are rooted in the soil and have a local flavour. The boundaries between mainstream film-making and independent film-making have become a little blurred, and that can only be a good thing. Today, it’s possible to straddle both worlds.
Is it hard to balance making music and acting in films?
I am part of a generation that can safely operate multiple professions at the same time. I am part of a theatre company. I make music for my band, for myself, for films and, of course, I have been acting in movies. I have also made and edited some short films. At the end of the day, I largely feel that they all culminate together. They are all interconnected. I don’t see them as opposing professions in any way. In fact, whatever I learn in one profession can easily be applied to the other one. Now, I want to make my own films, where all these experiences will come together.
Do you plan to direct films as well?
Film-making is the long-term plan. Music would be an important part of the films I make. I have grown up listening to albums, reading books, watching plays, etc. So it’s hard for me to not involve myself with these art forms. Film-making is a passion. Directing movies consumes a person, so I know for a fact that once I start making films, it will be time consuming. I have also been working behind the scenes for the theatre group (his father Naseeruddin Shah’s group, Motley). I have also made music for some of their productions such as The Conference Of The Birds and Gadha Aur Gaddha. Later this year, I intend to direct a play as well. It takes some time to develop and rehearse a play.
Does being a star kid help your career or hamper it?
That is not a terribly important aspect for me. I have a lot of respect for my family and the work they have done, but I can’t say that any of that has had a direct relation to where I am professionally. All the work that I have done has been regardless of my family background.
Do you look up to your father for career advice?
We share a lot of common interests, in terms of cinema and film-making. We both have a deep love for it. In the past, I have asked him for his opinion on things I have been really confused about. But we are good friends, and there’s never any overarching pressure of any kind. I feel a responsibility to do quality work because of where I come from.