Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah’s son who managed to make people sit up and take notice with his debut film has a mind of his own. He speaks to CS about his foray into acting, love for theatre and his dual personality.
Two sides to it
I never wanted to get into acting. I guess that was because it was expected of me. Of course, I was always fascinated by the world of acting as both my parents are actors. I loved going for my parents’ plays. But that fascination was at a very basic level, not intense like it is now. I was studying to be a software designer, dropped out of it and pursued other interests. My career was in a state of fluctuation. I was interested in so many things and then Vishal Bhardwaj gave me the opportunity to act in his film. That was a blessing because then I realised that acting is what I was born to do. But that doesn’t mean I don’t rebel against it still. It’s a sort of duality that exists in me. There’s a side of me that doesn’t want to be a part of the rat-race and another side, that wants to do my best in it.
It’s all stage-d!
Theatre has always been a part of the bargain. It’s result oriented and very different from acting in films. It is what comes from the guts when you’re up on stage. There’s a lot of truth in it. I’m not saying that films don’t have any truth to them but in theatre, the process is more important. I enjoy being on stage. It’s a blessing I got into it and I have to make the best of it. Working alongside my father on the stage is a superb experience.
On my own
My parents will always try and influence me about the kind of work I should take up. But ultimately I take my own decisions. There have been instances they have told me to do something and I have gone and done the opposite of that. End of the day, I want to do meaningful cinema but I don’t think I have the luxury of being picky and choosy as there is so much competition in this field. Even cricketers would like to play one-day matches, but they have to play test matches as well. I want to do good work and make my parents proud of me.