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Naseeruddin watches Shabana talk

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By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Thursday, September 13, 2007

Naseeruddin Shah shot with the country's most accomplished actress for a short film directed by Rohit Roy. It's common knowledge that Shabana isn't Naseer's favourite actress.

Naseer guffaws. "Actually Shabana's mother Shaukat Aapa (Azmi) got there first. Shabana never stood a chance with me. Shabana and I hatched this joint conspiracy that if we come together it'd only be for a ten-minute film. That way the audiences will be left craving for more."

Naseer chuckles," Jokes apart, it was great fun shooting with Shabana after so many years. We've also done an unreleased film Libaas together… This time in Rice Plate Shabana has all the dialogues. She plays a talkative Malayali woman while I watch her silently. I play an ordinary insignificant man, my specialty."

Speaking on his career currently, he says, "I've made nothing happen in my life, just went with the current. Audiences will get to see me in small films. I've just completed a film called Wednesday. It's directed by a young man named Neeraj Pandey. I've always had more faith in the younger generation of filmmakers. It's the best script I've read in years. It tackles the train bombings in Mumbai two years ago."

Of late a lot of roles with a social conscience like Parzania have been coming his way. "But it's always been like that. Such roles have always come to me. I guess it's because filmmakers have sensed some sort of a commitment from and within me. I've never broken my back to seek out any kind of roles."

Naseer is wise enough to realize his strengths as an actor. "I guess my strength has always been playing these ordinary people. I'm never superman who can vanquish all opposition, but the common man who can grapple with working -class crises. I used to get a lot of such roles in the 1970s. Now I guess the younger filmmakers are re-discovering the cinema of their consciousness. And I'm glad to be part of their vision…Like Rohit Roy who directed me in Rice Plate. He was wonderful, full of beans. If you look at it, nearly half the films I've done have been with new directors. And I never regretted it. It"s the seasoned directors who have let me down."

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