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'There are very few films on riots'

Naseeruddin Shah tells Ritujoy Ghosh that a lot needs to be done to depict social issues in Indian films

india Updated: Jan 25, 2007 15:22 IST

A lot still needs to be done in Indian films when it comes to depicting social issues.

“It’s not negligence by the directors but rather a shame for us that we have been able to produce only two films on riots — Parzania and Black Friday — in five years."

“It’s even more shameful that there is not a single Indian who has ever been inspired to make a film on Gandhi, and we are talking of Gandhigiri,” says actor Naseeruddin Shah, who feels that choosing to act in a film like Parzania was more a social responsibility than an actor’s hunt for a good role.

Parzania is the true story of Dara Modi and his family who lost their son, Azhar, in the Gujarat riots. Shah plays the father and feels it was one of the most challenging roles as, “I was playing a real character but more because I knew the pain he is still undergoing”.

Shot on a shoestring budget, the film did not leave the actor with too much time for research on the character but Shah became emotional during the shooting.

“I did not do any research.. as the film is not about the impersonation of Dara Modi but about anyone who could be caught in such a storm,” he says.

Though Shah did not interact with Dara Modi before shooting, he was moved after meeting him on the completion of the film.

“I met him with his wife and daughter exactly at the spot in Gujarat where his son got lost and could not hold back my tears. He still hopes his son will come back some day. I did not have the courage to show him the film after completion,” says the actor.

Shah has always been vocal about social issues and his choice of roles is dominated by the importance of the message conveyed.

“Sometimes films should be made keeping in mind not the commercial angle but just because they need to be made. These films mean a lot to society and that is why I have done films like Sarfarosh, Drohkaal, Ardh Satya and Mirch Masala,” he says.

First Published: Jan 25, 2007 17:30 IST