Naseeruddin Shah will have two releases on the same day, March 20: Firaag and Barah Aana. Incidentally, both are helmed by first-time directors Nandita Das and Raja Menon, respectively. In fact, Naseer's last few films (A Wednesday and Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na) were helmed by first-time directors as well. Quite a coincidence, isn't it?
"That's not new," the veteran corrects me, "I've acted with new directors from the beginning of my career. Right from Shyam Benegal and Govind Nihalani to the new names today. Actually, I am more comfortable with newcomers. Unke peth mein aag hain, they are ready to take risks and if you notice, their first films are always their best."
But first-timers could be intimidated by his personality, his body of work? "May be," he retorts. So who breaks the ice? "It happens gradually. Of course, you don't get into backslapping terms, but a comfort level develops once you start working," he says. First-time director Raja Menon (Barah Aana) was nervous when he approached Naseer to act in his film. "I loved the script. You know something, main dil se soochta hoon. I loved the story and I decided to be a part of the film. And I am glad I did the film because Raja is clear about what he wants and he has executed the subject well," Naseer states.
Naseer tried his hand at direction a few years ago (Yun Hota To Kya Hota..What If?), isn't he planning to direct his second film now? "No, I am not interested. It's a tough job. It takes away too much from you. I am not cut out for film direction," he clarifies.