Good film is a truthful representation of its time, says veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah

IIK Staff Reporter; Photo: Anwar Sadath Thalasserry
Saturday, February 4, 2017

The state of Bollywood films is the same where it was started, said Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah in Kuwait. "It is a fallacy that film is evolving. `Better photography and better editing does not make the film technically advanced. There are many other departments where technology needs to be improved in terms of storytelling, in terms of content, writing, choreography, poetry, etc. Frankly speaking, the photography is the only thing which has improved" the celebrity Indian actor Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan Naseeruddin Shah told He was in Kuwait as part of the Mega Theatrical Bonanza presented by Indian Cultural Society (ICS) at American International School, Maidan Hawally.

The kind of films we make in India today doesn’t interest me, Shah, a prominent figure in Indian parallel cinema said. A Film which is truthful representation of its time, that is according to me, a good serious film, he said. Even though there are good entertainment films currently made, by and large the story has been given least importants in a commercial film. Unfortunately, making a good movie is the last priority today, making money is the first priority, he said to

The kind of theatre we do has no connection with film. We don’t use any technology in theatre. In theatre there are only actors and the script. We don’t believe in creating an illusion on the stage. Theatre gives more importants to the story. We have around 8 plays which we are currently playing and I am also planning a new play which will be finished by March.

When talking about the satisfaction from a movie and a play, Naseeruddin shah said that it all depends on the script and content. Sometimes films are also enjoyable and same time some plays can be unsatisfying also, he said. The film and theatre are totally different. There is nothing in common and no comparison at all. A play can only be shown in one place at a time, while films can be shown in thousands of screens. So theatres can never be popular as films.

Talking about regional language films, Naseeruddin Shah said that Malayalam and Kannada does make meaningful films, But I can’t say the same about Telugu or Tamil. In Marati of late very good films are being made, he said.

The play they did in Kuwait is one of the major production of Kopal Theatres that presents five stories by Bhisham Sahni — Oob, Dholak, Sir Ka Sadka, Yaadein and Samadhi Bhai Ramsingh. All stories are directed by Seema Pahwa - the veteran Indian film, television and theatre actress.

We have played these stories in almost 16 stages including outside India in the last two years said Seema Pahwa, who was also in Kuwait as part of the troupe. Her husband and well known film and television actor Manoj Pahwa is playing the lead role in one of the story. The whole family of Naseeruddin Shah and Manoj Pahwa are in to this troupe taking up different roles. Ratna Pathak, wife of Naseeruddin Shah, best known for her portrayal of Maya Sarabhai in Sarabhai vs Sarabhai also plays a lead role in one of the story. It is always better to play with family members. It is fun and feel more comfortable, Seema and Manoj Pahwa said

Seema Pahwa, a television and theatre veteran who was the first in bringing television serials in Doordarshan, currently is not doing much on the television. “The serials that are shown now are more commercialised and there is no importance given to the story line. The serials are more into which product it is endorsing and selling. They are more into breaking records of making 1000 episodes or 5000 episodes. But the fact is that if you see the 70th episode after 50th one, still you will not find any missing part", Seema Pahwa said.

Audience always appreciates good serials, but now there is no choice for the audience to watch a good serial. We are making the audience addicted to same type of stories by giving them only that, says Manoj Pahwa. Earlier, we follow stories of great writers to make beautiful films. But now we are looking at Hollywood or Mollywood and remaking the stories from that.

The passion is not involved now in making of a film. It is like any other business, says Manoj. Now they make a package as the most selling hero, most selling story writer, most selling music director, most selling lyrics etc. and put a budget into it. Then think about the story. There is no passion involved in it, says Manoj. But there are still some people who make good films. Youngsters are coming with new ideas and new stories and making good films in a small budget, which needs to be appreciated, the Pahwa couple said.

We try to adopt good stories of great Indian writers and bring it on the stage. Within its limitation, we are trying to evolve the theatre. After all it is a medium of storytelling. We take great stories from great writers such as Rabindranath Tagore and make it into a stage format and present it to the audience. This kind of experience makes it possible for us to play our stories in any stage. “The beauty of Bhishamji’s writing is its simplicity. He can make the most profound statement without much drama,” says Manoj Pahwa.

Today, Pahwa is devoting all their energy to acting in films as well as directing plays for Kopal Theatre. Talking about their troupe, Kopal Theatre was set up by their daughter Manukriti who graduated from MS University, Baroda, with a degree in Performing Arts and son Mayank. The production sees each member of the family take up different roles: Seema as director, Manoj, as financer/producer, Mayank, as creative force and Manukriti as the livewire captain of the ship.

The “Mega Theatrical Bonanza” was bought to Kuwait audience by none other than the Indian Cultural society (ICS), who got to its credit, a number of first class entertainment events for the past 11 years. ICS continues its journey in 2017 with its first play ‘Kashmakash’ last month and this is the second play in Kuwait this year.

Express your comment on this article

Shakeel Ahmad Khan
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Naseeruddin Saheb is legend and rare diamond of Bollywood. His performance as story teller was par-excellence. Many thanks and hats-off to Ashfaq Saheb of ICS for bringing such people in Kuwait and arranging quality program for us.

Dr Anis Ahmad
Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2017

This was certainly a new concept in Kuwait.
Naseeruddin Saheb as usual has done a great job on stage. He is a super star and there can not be two opinions about him.
The way story was told was fantastic... I heard in my childhood days there used to be an art of story telling like this....(Afsana Goi) or (Dastan goi)... Excellent. it was!

Posted on Saturday, February 4, 2017

Even though there are good entertainment films currently made, by and large the story has been given least importants in a commercial film.

Very correct.
Excellent Actor

Posted on Saturday, February 4, 2017

Well done ICS! To keep the theater show still very much alive in Kuwait. It shows the true essence and fabric of Art. Every word of the above write up I have read carefully and every word shared by the Stalwarts were very touching to a person like me who has been so passionate of this Art form because it carries me back in times when on stage by myself. Keep up ICS...Gr8 job and good wishes!!!

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