Naseeruddin Shah has a long and impressive acting career, spanning films and television and now, even digital platforms. But what has kept this powerhouse of a performer going through all these years in the industry?
According to Hindustan Times, Shah wakes up every day with the belief that he has "something to give" to the audience. "I think it is the suspicion that I still have function left to fulfill; I am not done yet as an actor. I still have something to give (to the audience) and I am lucky that people still want to watch me,” said the 70-year-old in a recent interview.
“I am lucky and also, the fact that I love my work. I love acting! There is something about performing… I can't explain the excitement and I haven't got over it. I think I am obsessed with acting.”
Shah went on to further elaborate on his love for the craft. “I think when I wake up tomorrow morning and I am unable to perform, I probably will commit suicide. What is there in life without it?"
The Mohra star is one of the most revered faces in Indian cinema today, with more than three decades worth of hits under his belt. Through the length of his career, he has also worked with some of the biggest names in distinct genres but maintains his support for new film-makers.
“When I interact with newcomers, I have the example of people like Habib Tanvir, Girish Karnad, Om Puri, Shyam Benegal and Satyadev Dubey. When I was a youngster, they were idols for me,” Shah said. “When one struggles, encouragement is needed, and these people always guided us. Perhaps it is because of them, even in our darkest days, we stayed hopeful and continued our struggle to become the actors we are.”
This is why Shah says he will always have the back of debutantes in the industry. “When I work with new actors and film directors, I try and encourage the story that is worth telling.”
The veteran actor then went on to give an example of how to separate politics from on-screen roles and characters. “It is not always the character but what the intention behind telling the story is that matters the most,” he explained.
The Khuda Kay Liye star cited the film and his role therein. “If Khuda Kay Liye were about glorifying the Taliban, I would have not come on board to be part of the story,” Shah recalled. “Coming from a very orthodox Muslim family, as a child, I was told that Islam is the greatest religion and all non-Muslims are kaafirs. But those thoughts used to disturb me as a growing adult. We do not choose our parents and the religion we are born into. And why should music be banned?”
He concluded, “All those questions were addressed in Khuda Kay Liye. As an actor, I had to agree with the ideology that the story was showing, not necessarily the character that I was portraying.”
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