What the people want, the people get!
(Sorry, Joolz, not Keegan Singh.)
Due to popular demand I’ve got three more segments of the MTV Iggy interview with Naseeruddin Shah. Looking back, I can’t believe we asked some of these questions. He continued to be gracious, thoughtful, and startlingly candid:
What’s the difference between theater and film? Legendary Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah explains to us why the two should be starkly delineated. “I can’t understand why they remake movies as plays — and then do them exactly like movies!” he says, referring those well-known Broadway plays in which helicopters crash and ships sink onstage. With his theatrical company, Motley, Naseeruddin is bringing back the lost art of Dastangoi, the ancient practice of storytelling in which the end of one story leads to the beginning of the next — bringing theater back to its original intent: one actor, one audience:
Whatever we asked Naseeruddin Shah, this legend of Indian cinema took in stride and answered with thought-provoking candor. Whether it’s about homosexuality in India (changing, but like “the hang-ups we have about blind people, disabled people… lepers”), advice for young Muslims (“do not read the Koran like a parrot, try and understand it”), or his own orthodox Muslim parents, Naseeruddin truly graced us with every response. He gave us the clearest definition of what it means to be a fundamentalist we’ve ever heard, talked about why actors cling tightly to superstitions when they become successful, and even told us why his children are being raised without religion. Want a bracing conversation about religion and culture over dinner? Just don’t take him out for French or Italian!:
With over 150 films to his credit Naseeruddin Shah is known for an illustrious career in international cinema. Recently, his film choices have tended towards darker, more political films, specifically Khuda Kay Liye (In the Name of God) and A Wednesday. Both deal with issues of terrorism and fundamentalist strains of Islam. In this segment, he talks about what he looks for when reading scripts, his instincts in choosing work, and why A Wednesday strikes a chord with every average person who has felt sidelined, trapped, or forced to pay when violence erupts:
It’s a bit hard not to fangirl all over this. He grew up being told that the earth was flat, and grew into an adult whose intelligence leaps at you through the screen. Wisdom…it’s a strange word to use these days, but it seems right to apply it to him. If only our politicians were even a tiny bit like him…