“I rate Madhuri on par with Madhubala, Waheeda” – Naseer

Naseeruddin Shah is having a ball in Lucknow shooting for Dedh Ishqiya, the sequel to the well-received Ishqiya. Says Naseer, “I’ve been here in Lucknow before to shoot for Muzaffar Ali’s Umrao Jaan, Shyam Benegal’s Junoon and Sudhir Mishra’s Yeh Woh Manzil Toh Nahin. But I haven’t been in Lucknow for some years now. The city has changed a lot. It’s great fun…My wife Ratna visits off and on.”

Naseer says the sequel is better scripted than Ishqiya. “Oh yes Dedh Ishqiya has a better script. Being with Arshad Warsi is an added incentive. I have not seen his new film Jolly LLB as yet. But there will be a screening soon.”

That his co-star is Madhuri Dixit adds to Naseer’s sense of enjoyment. Says Naseer, “She’s quite wonderful. I have to confess I am a Madhuri Dixit fan. I am not embarrassed to say this. I rate her on a par with Waheeda Rehman and Madhubala. We did Pankaj Parashar’s Rajkumar and then we did M. F. Hussain’s Gaja Gamini, the one that nobody understood. I was the only one who tried very hard to understand what was going in the film. I think Hussain Saab admired Madhuri so he decided to make a movie around her. There was no story or anything. It was just a series of beautiful images, totally abstract and non-cinematic. I think he was trying to create a new language of cinema.”

Dedh Ishqiya is the first film that gives Naseer a chance to enjoy Madhuri’s presence as a co-star. “I am glad Madhuri and I are finally doing a film that has a plot and some substance. In Gaja Gamini we had no scenes together. I am amazed to see her at work in Dedh Ishqiya. She is playing her age, very gracefully.”

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