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Last Updated 24.09.2019 | 2:49 PM IST
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“I have criticized and worked in art as well as commercial films” – Naseeruddin Shah Part I



“I don’t consider Sholay as a great film and I’ve written three pages about it in my book ‘And then one day’,” said

Naseeruddin Shah in an interview to Bollywood Hungama in Abu Dhabi recently. Shah has a way with words and he doesn’t hold anything

back, nor does he turn politically correct at any point of time. Laced with a razor sharp sense of humour and heart-tugging self admissions, Naseer

sahib opens up on his views on Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, his views on Mr Bachchan as a great communicator, the efforts that he is making to

open up with his children, what advice he gave to son Vivaan Shah, his passion for theatre, his views on remake, why he agreed to be a part of

Welcome Back and why good writing is the most ingredient for theatre as well as films.

Lot of people were surprised when you signed Welcome Back because you are generally not associated with such comic

capers…
Why? I have done films like Mujhe Mere Biwi Se Bachao, Zinda Jala Doonga, Tridev and Tehelka! I have worked with great directors

like Anil Sharma. Toh fir kyon hairat hoti hai? Pata nahin logon ko lagta hai ki yeh commercial filmon mein kaam kyon karta hai? Abhi mujhse

sawaal poochte hai log ki aapki jo art films thi, woh badi achchi thi; to ye commercial filmein kyon kar rahe hai. To main 3-4 art filmon ka naam

leta hoon aur puchta hoon ki aapne ye dekhi hai. To woh bolte hai ki humne nahin dekhi. Fir bhi woh chahte hai ki main unhi filmon mein kaam

karoon, inme naa karoon. It seems like I’m doing something wrong!

When you did Tirchi Topiwale, lot of people thought that you have sold out to commercial cinema…
Yeah, they were fools to think that. The third film of my career was a commercial film with Rajshri Productions called Sunayana. Uske gaane

abhi tak chalte hai. Total flop thi woh…woh alag baat hai. But main iss baat ka jawab dete dete thak gaya hoon. I did not one day cross over to

commercial cinema. I was always doing commercial cinema. Woh filmein kisi ne dekhi nahin. To isme mera koi kasoor nahin hai. Sunaina,

Shayad, Khwab, Pyaara Dost, Tajurba, Haadsaa, Swami Dada ye saari filmein maine ki thi at the beginning of my career. Phir bhi logon ka yeh

kuch yakeen hai ki ek din maine art cinema ko daga dekar commercial filmein karna shuru ki. Haalaki sach yeh hai ki maine art filmein karna kabhi

bhi bandh nahin ki. Main unhe criticize zaroor karta tha par unme kaam bhi main karta tha. Aur aaj main commercial filmon mein bhi kaam karta

hoon. I have always tried to do both kinds of films.

There is a general perception that you’ll say yes to a script if it’s very good. People generally think that if Naseer bhai is doing it, it means it has

a good script. So when you do an out-and-out Anees Bazmee commercial film, people raise their eyebrows…
Chaalis Chauraasi naam ki bhi film ki thi maine. Main filmein choonta hoon on instinct. Kabhi bhi koi script sunn kar ye andaza nahin lagaya

ja sakta ki yeh film kaisi banegi. Aisa bhi tajurba raha hai ki achchi script pe bahut buri filmein bani hai aur kamzor scripts par bahut saari achchi

filmein bhi ban gayi hai. So you have to go by your instinct ki mera jee chaha raha hai ya nahin. Bas, that’s the only criteria. Ab jee chaha sakta hai

kisi bhi wajah se. Jackpot jaisi film ko karne ko mera jee chaha kyonki mujhe paise bahut mil rahe the.



Also Sunny Leone was

there…
(Laughs) Frankly, she was not an enticement. But I did Dedh Ishqiya kyonki script bahut achcha tha. Mujhe woh director bahut achcha lagta

hai. There was Madhuri Dixit which was also a very good reason. Chaalis Chauraasi maine isliye ki kyonki hum chaar log the – Kay Kay

Menon aur Atul Kulkarni – aur humne socha ki bahut mazaa aayega. So for each film, there is a different reason.

Chaalis Chaurasi jaisi filmon ko dekh ke kabhi aapko aisa lagta hai ki aapne apne aap ko sahi dhang se kharch kiya hai ya aisa lagti hai ki

fizul kharchi kari apni?
Nahin, fizul kharchi mein nahin manta main. Kyonki jo bhi kuch maine kiya hai, bhale hi woh galat saabit hua hai, maine apne choice se kiya.

Mujhe pachtava bilkul bhi nahin hai apne kisi bhi decision par. Main acting isliye karta hoon kyonki mujhe acting karne mein bada mazaa aata hai.

Aur agar mujhe ek bhela bhi na milta, to bhi main acting hi karta rehta. Yeh to meri khushnaseebi hai ki mujhe paise milte hai acting karne ke. Toh

mujhe koi bhi cheez wasted nahin lagi. Buri se buri film bhi maine ki hai. Ab iss umeed se toh maine nahi ki ye kitni buri film hai, mujhe isme kaam

karna chahiye! Maine socha ki shayad theek thak ban jaaye, par nahin bani. Aisi bahut saari serious filmein bhi hai jo bahut buri hai. Bahut buri

bani hai. Jin par mujhe bahut umeed thi. To yeh toss of the coin hai each time. Ab Neeraj Pandey jab aaya tha mere pass A Wednesday le kar,

mujhe kuch bhi nahin malum tha Neeraj ke baare mein. Usne ek film bhi nahin banayi thi. Shoaib Mansoor Pakistan se jab aaye mere liye

Khuda Kay Liye ke liye, mujhe kuch nahin malum tha unke baare mein. Aur similarly The Coffin Maker naam ki behad manhoos film

bani hai jo maine dekhi nahin hai aur na main kabhi dekhoonga, uss director ke baare mein bhi mujhe kuch nahin malum tha. Aur ussi bharose ke

saath I entered into that film. But it turned out to be very, very bad.

But those who have seen The Coffin Maker have praised it.
Haan, log taarif karte hai uski. Mujhe awards bhi mile hai uske liye. Par award to kisi bhi baat pe mil jaata hai.

People even say that it’s the best performance of Naseeruddin Shah…
Badi achchi baat hai aisa hai toh!

Director Veena Bakshi has been quite upset…
Let her be upset.

She alleges that you were paid Rs 1.5 crore for the film merely for promoting it…
No I was not. She is lying through her bloody teeth if she says that. I never demanded extra money. I just refused to work with her anymore. She

did not know the front side of the camera from the backside.

So you play a don in Welcome Back and apparently your character is blind…
Yes. Real blind, not like ‘Mohra-blind’!

So how was the character of playing a blind character and a don?
It is like doing a parody of my Sparsh performance. But yeh ek Anees Bazmee ki genre ki film hai. To jo Anees bhai ko chahiye tha, woh

maine unko dene ki koshish ki.

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