Is Oscars any less bogus than a pan masala award? It's equally fake: Naseeruddin Shah

Deccan Chronicle.  | Uma Ramasubramanian

Entertainment, Bollywood

Apart from performing shows, the actor will be seen in a film called The Hungry, which is based on Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.

Naseeruddin Shah

He looks utterly calm and composed, as he gets into character for his play, The Father at NCPA, Mumbai. Even as he gears to get into his role, Naseeruddin Shah remains sharp, doesn’t mince any words. 

Apart from performing shows, the actor will be seen in a film called The Hungry, which is based on Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. The actor, who still dabbles among different mediums, believes that awards aren’t criteria to measure one’s talent, and that the Oscars are no different from any other show. Naseer also talks about his close friend, late Om Puri, and why money is more tempting than quality films. Excerpts: 

With plays like Waiting for Godot, Mahatma vs. Gandhi, Einstein among others, you have actively been a part of the theatre scene. Is there still a sense of nervousness each time when you enter the stage?
I don’t feel nervousness at all I have never felt it. In fact, people say that it sounds vain but I love being on stage so much that I don’t feel nervous. It’s not like I am going on the field to play cricket! I am glad I didn’t become a cricketer. It was the only thing I ever wanted to do. Cricket is still my greatest passion still but I can’t play the game anymore. With theatre, you have to get it right. It’s not like film acting is any easier it has its own difficulties. Both are different disciplines.

What made you take up a film like The Hungry?
I loved the script I enjoyed meeting the director (Bornila Chatterjee). She made sense when she was talking about what she wanted to do. It’s not a regular masala movie  it’s a blood-drenched drama. It’s so exciting that you can live so many imaginary lives in one life. That’s the best part of acting. 

You have been a part of interesting projects. How tempting is Bollywood in terms of money?
Yes, money is great in films and its very tempting for every actor. I will not deny that but I have never done films just for money. Having said that, most of the time the script sounds so interesting that you just want to jump into it. Eventually, when it fleshes out into a film, it turns out to be disappointing. 

One of your closest friends Om Puri passed away this year. When did you last meet him? 
I knew his death was nearing. He used to often call me to his place. He was so upset with his life. He was an unhappy man for the last two years. I was angry at Om; I kept telling him to take care of himself. He was drinking so much, which wasn’t good for him. He had gained a lot of weight. He was taking up anything that came his way. I miss him a lot.

Newton has been selected as India’s entry to the Oscars. What are your views on the Oscars?
Why do we even hope for the Oscars? I don’t understand. Is Oscar any less bogus than a pan masala award? It is equally fake it is rigged from the word go. People start manipulating things year before their movie is made…the machinery gets into action for the Oscar. Why are we bothered about this? Who are those guys to decide the best films of the year? I hate these things. But I am very keen on seeing Newton because I like this actor (Rajkummar Rao) and I think it will be an interesting movie.