Naseeruddin Shah is an actor par excellence. A legendary name that is synonymous with some cult films in Indian cinema. And with the changing dynamics of business in the Hindi film industry, Naseer Sahab has made some relevant observations.
One legend that Anurag Kashyap started his career with in the much acclaimed Black Friday and went on to helm projects like Dev D, Gulaal, Gangs of Wasseypur, Ugly, which were not exactly blockbusters but helped the director get a devoted audience base.
Shah says he fails to understand why filmmakers like Kashyap all of sudden feel the need to do away with the cinema they believe in for a star-driven project. When asked if it was pressure which drove Kashyap to make the Ranbir Kapoor-Anushka Sharma starrer, the legendary actor said, “No pressure, it was greed which drove Anurag Kashyap to make that wretched film Bombay Velvet. It has happened to them all. They claim they need a wider audience. Why do you suddenly need a wider audience? When you started off you didn’t need a wider audience. You were catering the niche. Now why do you need a wider audience and bigger budget?,” he told PTI.
Besides Kashyap, the 66-year-old actor cited the example of other filmmakers like Saeed Akhtar Mirza, Ketan Mehta, Govind Nihalani, saying their first films have been their best because they were desperate to make that particular movie.
“All these guys’ first film has been their best. Whether (it is) Saeed, Ketan, Anurag, Govind or Shyam Benegal, because they were strapped for funds, had fire in their bellies and it meant the world to them to make that movie,” Naseeruddin Shah says. “Once that movie got acclaim, they started believing they are masters and you can see the results. Apart from Shyam, I don’t think anyone has retained the quality. They are dying to make movies with popular actors, that’s the truth.”
Shah, who will be next seen in Waiting with Kalki Koechlin, dismissed the so-called new wave in Indian cinema, saying it is just a media-coined term. He, however, agrees that there are few filmmakers, who are trying to make movies they believe in but their ratio is too small to fight the ever growing commercial potboilers.
“There is no wave, there are few guys who are trying to make films they believe in as they were in the seventies. The ratio is as small as it was then. Nothing has changed and nothing is going to change. There will always be a few crazies who will want to make their kind of movies. May their breed survive but they will always be in minority,” he says.
Naseeruddin Shah, who was the poster boy of parallel cinema in the seventies by starring in films like Nishant, Manthan, Bhumika, Junoon, Sparsh, Aakrosh among others, says he did not get these projects on the basis of his acting credibility but merely because he came cheap.
“I kept getting cast in these movies in the seventies because they could not afford any popular actor. I was the most popular among the new wave actors. I was not cast because they had high regard for me. I was cast because I was available cheap.”
With inputs from PTI