Naseeruddin Shah feels Hindi cinema loves to laugh at others' miseries: 'Don't know how to laugh at ourselves'
Actor Naseeruddin Shah spoke about Hindi films following a pattern of stereotyping certain communities from the early days of cinema. He also said that we love to laugh at others' miseries, while not being able to laugh at ourselves.
Naseeruddin Shah shared his feelings on how Hindi cinema has been consistently using stereotypes to portray communities and make fun of others. The veteran actor felt that films have been encouraging people to make fun of communities like the Sikhs or the Parsis, but when it comes to laughing at ourselves, people get sensitive. He was a part of a panel discussion at a cultural event last December in New Delhi along with wife, actor Ratna Pathak Shah, where he spoke about the generalisation of humour.
A video of the actors speaking at the panel was shared on Twitter and Naseeruddin expanded on how Hindi films have been following a pattern of stereotyping from the early days of cinema. He felt nothing much has changed since then. Several Twitter users agreed with the veteran actor's assessment. One fan stated, "Very well said by Naseer ji! It applies to our society...perhaps all of us..." While another commented, "Sahi Hai na (That's correct). We were there at this session and the entire discussion was very practical and inward looking."
The actor and his wife had attended the Jashn-e-Rekhta event in December 2022. Speaking on a panel, Naseeruddin had stated, "Hindi film hasn't left any community alone, which community have they spared, tell me. [They] are masters of stereotyping. Sikhs were made fun of, Parsis were made fun of, Christians were made fun of... the Muslim was always the selfless friend, who used to lose his life saving the hero's life at the end. But he definitely used to die."
Ratna also shared that Hindi films used broad physical stereotypes like a fat woman, a thin man or a drunken man to create humour. She said these were the only options for humour in cinema.
Naseeruddin went on to say, "To laugh at others' miseries is a national custom. We don't know how to laugh at ourselves. If someone makes fun of us, we feel bad. We don't think twice while making fun of others. Our films have encouraged this, very consistently and deliberately. It's been 100 years that we've been making films, nobody says that we're making the same films from a hundred years. This is a 100-year-old tradition that make fun of this community and that, and do this and that."
Ratna recently made her Gujarati film debut with Kutch Express and was last seen in the Netflix series Trial By Fire. Naseeruddin will play Emperor Akbar in the Zee5 series Taj-Divided By Blood next month. He was last seen in Aasmaan Bhardwaj's directorial debut Kuttey alongside actors Tabu, Arjun Kapoor, Radhika Madan, Konkona Sensharma, Kumud Mishra and Shardul Bhardwaj.