Faridoon Shahryar's Blog

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

“For Best Advice On Commercial Films, Go To Shah Rukh Khan”: Naseeruddin Shah

“For Best Advice On Commercial Films, Go To Shah Rukh Khan”: Naseeruddin Shah  
By Faridoon Shahryar

I don’t consider ‘Sholay’ as a great film and I’ve written three pages about it in my book ‘And then one day’,” said Naseeruddin Shah in an interview to a group of journalists including me in Abu Dhabi recently. Shah has a way with words and he doesn’t hold anything back, nor does he turn politically correct at any point of time. Laced with a razor sharp sense of humour and heart-tugging self admissions, Naseer sahib opens up on his views on ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, his views on Mr Bachchan as a great communicator, the efforts that he is making to open up with his children, what advice he gave to son Vivaan Shah, his passion for theater, his views on remakes, why he agreed to be a part of ‘Welcome Back’ and why good writing is the most important ingredient for theater as well as films.

Lot of people were surprised when you signed ‘Welcome Back’ because you are generally not associated with such comic capers…
Why? I have done films like ‘Mujhe Mere Biwi Se Bachao’, ‘Zinda Jala Doonga’, ‘Tridev’ and ‘Tehelka’! I have worked with great directors like Anil Sharma. Toh fir kyon hairat hoti hai? Pata nahin logon ko lagta hai ki yeh commercial filmon mein kaam kyon karta hai? Abhi mujhse sawaal poochte hai log ki aapki jo art films thi, woh badi achchi thi; to ye commercial filmein kyon kar rahe hai. To main 3-4 art filmon ka naam leta hoon aur puchta hoon ki aapne ye dekhi hai. To woh bolte hai ki humne nahin dekhi. Fir bhi woh chahte hai ki main unhi filmon mein kaam karoon, inme naa karoon. It seems like I’m doing something wrong!

When you did ‘Tirchi Topiwale’, lot of people thought that you have sold out to commercial cinema…
Yeah, they were fools to think that. The third film of my career was a commercial film with Rajshri Productions called ‘Sunayana’. Uske gaane abhi tak chalte hai. Total flop thi woh…woh alag baat hai. But main iss baat ka jawab dete dete thak gaya hoon. I did not one day cross over to commercial cinema. I was always doing commercial cinema. Woh filmein kisi ne dekhi nahin. To isme mera koi kasoor nahin hai. ‘Sunaina’, ‘Shayad’, ‘Khwab’, ‘Pyaara Dost’, ‘Tajurba’, ‘Haadsaa’, ‘Swami Dada’ ye saari filmein maine ki thi at the beginning of my career. Phir bhi logon ka yeh kuch yakeen hai ki ek din maine art cinema ko daga dekar commercial filmein karna shuru ki. Haalaki sach yeh hai ki maine art filmein karna kabhi bhi bandh nahin ki. Main unhe criticize zaroor karta tha par unme kaam bhi main karta tha. Aur aaj main commercial filmon mein bhi kaam karta hoon. I have always tried to do both kinds of films.

There is a general perception that you’ll say yes to a script if it’s very good. People generally think that if Naseer bhai is doing it, it means it has a good script. So when you do an out-and-out Anees Bazmee commercial film, people raise their eyebrows…
‘Chaalis Chauraasi’ naam ki bhi film ki thi maine. Main filmein choonta hoon on instinct. Kabhi bhi koi script sunn kar ye andaza nahin lagaya ja sakta ki yeh film kaisi banegi. Aisa bhi tajurba raha hai ki achchi script pe bahut buri filmein bani hai aur kamzor scripts par bahut saari achchi filmein bhi ban gayi hai. So you have to go by your instinct ki mera jee chaha raha hai ya nahin. Bas, that’s the only criteria. Ab jee chaha sakta hai kisi bhi wajah se. ‘Jackpot’ jaisi film ko karne ko mera jee chaha kyonki mujhe paise bahut mil rahe the.

Also Sunny Leone was there…
(Laughs) Frankly, she was not an enticement. But I did ‘Dedh Ishqiya’ kyonki script bahut achcha tha. Mujhe woh director bahut achcha lagta hai. There was Madhuri Dixit which was also a very good reason. ‘Chaalis Chauraasi’ maine isliye ki kyonki hum chaar log the – Kay Kay Menon aur Atul Kulkarni – aur humne socha ki bahut mazaa aayega. So for each film, there is a different reason.

‘Chaalis Chaurasi’ jaisi filmon ko dekh ke kabhi aapko aisa lagta hai ki aapne apne aap ko sahi dhang se kharch kiya hai ya aisa lagti hai ki fizul kharchi kari apni?
Nahin, fizul kharchi mein nahin manta main. Kyonki jo bhi kuch maine kiya hai, bhale hi woh galat saabit hua hai, maine apne choice se kiya. Mujhe pachtava bilkul bhi nahin hai apne kisi bhi decision par. Main acting isliye karta hoon kyonki mujhe acting karne mein bada mazaa aata hai. Aur agar mujhe ek bhela bhi na milta, to bhi main acting hi karta rehta. Yeh to meri khushnaseebi hai ki mujhe paise milte hai acting karne ke. Toh mujhe koi bhi cheez wasted nahin lagi. Buri se buri film bhi maine ki hai. Ab iss umeed se toh maine nahi ki ye kitni buri film hai, mujhe isme kaam karna chahiye! Maine socha ki shayad theek thak ban jaaye, par nahin bani. Aisi bahut saari serious filmein bhi hai jo bahut buri hai. Bahut buri bani hai. Jin par mujhe bahut umeed thi. To yeh toss of the coin hai each time. Ab Neeraj Pandey jab aaya tha mere pass ‘A Wednesday’ le kar, mujhe kuch bhi nahin malum tha Neeraj ke baare mein. Usne ek film bhi nahin banayi thi. Shoaib Mansoor Pakistan se jab aaye mere liye ‘Khuda Kay Liye’ ke liye, mujhe kuch nahin malum tha unke baare mein. Aur similarly ‘The Coffin Maker’ naam ki behad manhoos film bani hai jo maine dekhi nahin hai aur na main kabhi dekhoonga, uss director ke baare mein bhi mujhe kuch nahin malum tha. Aur ussi bharose ke saath I entered into that film. But it turned out to be very, very bad.

But those who have seen ‘The Coffin Maker’ have praised it.
Haan, log taarif karte hai uski. Mujhe awards bhi mile hai uske liye. Par award to kisi bhi baat pe mil jaata hai.

People even say that it’s the best performance of Naseeruddin Shah…
Badi achchi baat hai aisa hai toh!

Director Veena Bakshi has been quite upset…
Let her be upset.

She alleges that you were paid Rs 1.5 crore for the film merely for promoting it..
No I was not. She is lying through her bloody teeth if she says that. I never demanded extra money. I just refused to work with her anymore. She did not know the front side of the camera from the backside.

So you play a don in ‘Welcome Back’ and apparently your character is blind…
Yes. Real blind, not like ‘Mohra-blind’!

So how was the character of playing a blind character and a don?
It is like doing a parody of my ‘Sparsh’ performance. But yeh ek Anees Bazmee ki genre ki film hai. To jo Anees bhai ko chahiye tha, woh maine unko dene ki koshish ki.
You played Duryodhan in ‘Jaane bhi do yaaron’ in the climax, can one equate this character with that?  

Haan, over the top performance hai. Subtle performance bilkul nahin hai. Kyonki Anees Bazmee ki filmein subtlety nahin maangti. So you have to enter into the film with whatever is the spirit of the film. If I am doing a film like ‘Aakrosh’ or a film like ‘Sparsh’, to usme ek different sensibility ki zaroorat hoti hai. Anees Bazmee ki filmon mein ek alag tarah ki sensibility ki zaroorat hoti hai. You have to enter into that sensibility. Meri galti thi kayi dafaa ki main sochta tha ki kya bakwaas ban raha hai but it’s not a good attitude.

Shiney Ahuja is playing your son in the film. People are judgmental about him since he is having a past. So how do you deal with that?
Well, I feel very bad because I think Shiney is a very good actor. Maine usse pehli baar dekha tha TV ke kisi ad mein jisme woh kehta hai ki ‘I hate cricket’ followed by ‘score bata yaar’. That time itself it struck me ki ye ladka bahut achcha actor hai. I liked his work very much in ‘Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi’. In fact, when I made my film, I wanted to cast him but he was too busy. I’ve always liked Shiney aur jo bhi hua uss bechare ke saath, bahut bura hua. Ab yeh mujhe nahin malum uss maamle ki sachchai kya hai but I like Shiney and I wish him well and I hope woh apne career ko wapas rails pe laa sake.

Sir, if ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron’ is being remade, how would you feel?
I will not see it!

I believe Firoz bhai (Nadiadwala) has got the rights…
No, Firoz has the rights to make a sequel. But sequel ban hi nahin sakta na. Ravi Baswani ke bagair we can’t make a sequel. Duniya mein koi actor nahin hai jo Ravi ko replace kar sake. That’s what I feel but Firoz feels differently. Aur baat-cheet chal rahi hai Firoz ki aur Kundan ki.

If you are asked to play a role in the sequel…
Of course I will, if Kundan is directing it. ‘Masoom’ remake bhi sunna ban rahi hai. Khuda malum kyon bana rahe hai. ‘Masoom’ jaisi kahaani aaj ke duniya mein relevant hai hi nahin, ki ek bachcha apne baap ka pata nahi laga paaya dus saal tak in the world of Facebook and FaceTime and bloody pata nahin kya kya aa gaya hai. I consider ‘Masoom’ one of the best Hindi films ever made. Kya zaroorat hai dobara banane ki?

Do you believe in remakes?
Hamari industry mehnat karne se bahut ghabrati hai. But then at least they are admitting that they are remaking a film. Pehle toh admit nahin karte the na. What is ‘Deewaar’ but a remake of ‘Ganga Jamuna’? Bilkul wohi kahaani hai…bilkul ussi tarah ke emotional twists hai! Sab kuch bilkul waisa ka waisa hai. Ek Dhanno nahin hai bas usme. But otherwise, it’s the same. It’s a remake. ‘Shaan’ is a remake of ‘Sholay’. However, the former is set in the city. Kya fark hai ‘Shaan’ aur ‘Sholay’ mein bataaiye aap mujhe? Sholay mein uske haath kat jaati hai, ‘Shaan’ mein uski taange kat jaati hai. ‘Sholay’ mein daaku hai; ‘Shaan’ mein ganje ek baithe hue kahin. But it’s the same. ‘Taange’ pe gaane ke bajay BEST bus par gaana hai. So we’ve always been doing that. But now ab woh maan rahe hai ki haan bhai, hum wohi film bana rahe hai dobara. Kai aisi filmein ki remake ho rahi hai jo banni hi nahin chahiye thi, in the first place!

Have you seen any remakes?
No I haven’t bothered to see any remakes. ‘Chashme Badooor’ ka remake dekhne ki takleef maine nahin ki. Aur ‘Agneepath’ maine pehla waala bhi nahin dekha tha aur ye waala (remake) bhi nahin dekha.

You famously said that you felt ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ is fake..
Aapko nahin lagi? To itna udham kyon mach gaya? Itna toofan kyon ho gaya? Meri samaj mein nahin aata. Aap Milkha Singh ki 1960 Olympics ki tasveerein dekh lijiye. Aur Farhan Akhtar ko dekh lijiye. Bas…aur mujhe kuch kehne ki zaroorat nahin hai.

Shabana Azmi has said that Naseer is entitled to his opinion but 90 % of India doesn’t agree with him…
If they cannot agree, I don’t care. My opinion is my opinion. Main yeh nahin keh raha ki koi mere saath sehmat ho. Main toh apna opinion bata raha hoon. Ab Shabana Azmi kehti hai ki unke rongte khade ho gaye performance dekh ke. Theek hai, hue honge bhai. Mere nahin hue. Aur maine Farhan ki performance ko criticize nahin kiya. Farhan ne bahut mehnat ki. Jaan laga di usne. Lekin usko jo guidance mila, usko main criticize kar raha hoon. Usko Rocky jaisa bana diya; Milkha Singh jaisa bilkul nahin tha woh.

But does this spoil your relation with Javed Akhtar and Shabana because you’ve worked with Shabana…
I don’t know. I don’t see why it should. Kyonki agar Shabana aur Javed saab mere kaam ko criticize karein, to iska matlab to nahin hai ki main unse baat-chit karna bandh kar doonga. I have a right to say what I feel and they have a right to say what they feel. Aur waise bhi, aisa koi meri gehri dosti nahin hai Shabana se ya Javed saab se. I know them. I consider them associates, not friends.

Prasoon Joshi had said on your criticism that “I wrote the film with a common man in mind and the film has moved and connected with people at large and across segments. It was not meant to be a documentary or a niche film”…
Who is saying that he should have made a documentary? I am asking, why did you call it Milkha? Kuch aur naam de dete aap. Why did you call it Milkha and claim that it was based on facts? If it was, then the least you could have done was to have Farhan look like Mikha Singh physically. Aur Milkha bhi bade khush hue dekh kar ki ‘haan, main to aisa hi handsome aadmi tha’! ‘Ye bilkul sach hai, meri life bilkul aisi thi’. Ab koi mere baare mein koi film banaye aur George Clooney ko cast karein, to main khush hounga ki nahin? Mera sirf criticism yeh hai ki I really wanted to see a truthful film about Milkha Singh. And I am sorry to say, it was not a truthful film. Prasoon Joshi kuch bhi defence dete rahe. Maine theatre mein dekhi hai. Mujhe malum hai ladkiyaan seetiyaan baja rahi thi aur chilla rahi thi, cheekh rahi thi. Aur log rote bhi hai. Pakistan ko aap do gaaliyan de do, sab log taaliyan bajate hai hall mein. What I hated most about ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ was using this bloody jingoistic nonsense to mock Pakistan.

It is factually incorrect as well as the Pakistan race happened before the Olympics but in the film it’s shown as vice versa…
Yeah exactly. The whole film is factually incorrect.

If someone proposes to make a film on your life, will you agree?
Naah, unless meri pasand ka koi director woh film banaye. And I think the only one I would entrust would be someone like Shekhar Kapur kyonki uski filmmaking abilities ko main bahut manta hoon. Aur woh mujhe kaafi had tak achchi tarah se jaanta bhi hai aur chahta bhi hai. I wouldn’t just let anybody make a film on my life. Meri life pe film kaun banayega yaar?!

Actors today often say that they are merely entertainers. However, some of the yesteryear actors like Balraj Sahni tried to bring social changes as well. So do you think that artists should feel more obliged in contributing to the society as well?
Mera koi bhi political affiliation nahin hai. Mere koi bahut zyaada political opinions bhi nahin hai. I find politicians very amusing. I can’t take them seriously. Aur jo log actors ho kar political activism karte hai, main admire zaroor karta hoon unko. Woh apne conviction ke hisaab se karte hai lekin mujhe lagta hai ki aapko apne daayre ke andar rehkar sabse pehle apna farz adah karna chahiye. Agar aapko politics mein ghusne ka itna shauk hai, toh pehle hi aapko chale jaana chahiye tha politics mein. Aap acting ki platform pe khade hoke politics mein kyon jaa rahe hai? To main manta hoon ki meri jo zimmedaari hai samaj ke taraf ya mere bandhuon ki taraf, usko main nibhata hoon by doing the kind of theatre which I do and by helping in educating young actors. Mere khayal se meri sabse pehli social responsibility yeh hai ki maine apne field mein rehkar jo kuch kar sakta hoon, who karoon. Hum log sab duniya ko badalne chal padte hai aur lal batti par hum rukte nahin hai traffic light par. Aur duniya ko hum badalne jaa rahe hai. Agar aapke ghar mein jo paudha ugg raha hai, agar aap usme paani nahin daal sakte, to aapko kya khaak fark padega ki rainforests tabah ho rahe hai. Pehle to apne aap ko sudharna padega, samaj ko sudharne se pehle.

What do you have to say about Vivaan? He’s coming up with ‘Happy New Year’…
I wish him luck! I am very happy that he’s working with someone like Farah. Mujhe Farah ki filmein bahut achchi lagi except for ‘Tees Maar Khan’. ‘Om Shanti Om’ I think was a fantastic movie. Maine 2-3 baar dekhi hai. Meri ek film thi ‘Hero Hiralal’. ‘Om Shanti Om’ was like a remake of ‘Hero Hiralal’ and ‘Om Shanti Om’ got it right. Aur Farah ko jo unashamed love for commercial cinema hai, woh mujhe bada achcha lagta hai. Aur woh bahut maze le kar film banati hai. Meri isse badi dua koi ho hi nahin sakti ki meri favourite commercial director ke saath mein mera beta launch ho. Sab mujhse puchte hai ki aapne kya advice diya. Vivaan ko maine koi advice nahin diya. Maine usse kaha bete, Shah Rukh Khan se advice lo. Usse behtar koi nahin hai tumhe advice dene waala for acting in commercial films. Acting in commercial films mujhe aaj tak samaj mein nahin aayi kaise hoti hai. Toh I have left him in the hands of Shah Rukh Khan and Farah Khan aur mujhe poora bharosa hai un dono par.

Vivaan had said in an interview that “We have a very honest relationship, but I am intimidated by him as well. And it is something that bothers him as well, as he would like people to be able to be more free with him…”
Yeah, it bothers me that even with my children, there’s always a little bit of a distance. Malum nahin kyon. People in the industry tell me that they are frightened of me and so on. I don’t understand why. Maine ek hi producer ko toh maara hai apni zindagi mein! Do (producer ko maara hai), sorry! Do producer aur ek director, teen!

Sir, something about your sense of humour. Also, you can laugh at yourself which is phenomenal as well…
Yeah, that is what everybody is liking so much about my book because people didn’t suspect that I have a sense of humour. I like funny films. And I don’t believe in taking myself seriously. And I have tried that my children should not take me seriously. Jis level ki dosti main karna chahta tha apne bachchon se, I am still working at it.

Coming back to your statement on Farhan Akhtar, why is that whenever you say something about someone, it always (turns into) a huge controversy. Like it happened in the case of Mr Bachchan also…
What did I say about Mr Bachchan?

You said that you don’t consider him as the greatest actor of Indian Cinema…
I never said anything like that. What I did say was I liked his earlier performances better. An actor is remembered via the movies he did. Aap duniya ke sabse gifted actor honge, par agar aapne aisi film nahin ki hai jo yaad rahegi, toh aapko bhi koi nahin yaad karega. An actor cannot be better than the film he is in. That’s what I probably said about Mr Bachchan. I may have criticized some of his performances but I am a great admirer of the man. See the way he handles ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’. It’s fantastic. After being such a star, to be able to make a connection with every common man who comes to his programme is a phenomenal achievement. And I consider him a very, very fine actor.

You also said that you don’t consider ‘Sholay’ as a great film…
That I don’t and I have written 3 pages in my book about it.

If you judge your films objectively, then which are the films that you consider memorable?
I think films like ‘Manthan’, ‘Masoom’, ‘Sparsh’, ‘Mirch Masala’, ‘A Wednesday’ will be remembered. So, I might be remembered also!

Something about theatre because you are one of the few actors who actually devote so much time for dramatics…
Yes because I love theatre. Aur theatre ka karz main utaar nahin sakta zindagi bhar alawa iss tarah se ki main zindagibhar theatre ki kidmat karta rahoon. Aur isliye bhi kyonki mujhe theatre karne mein mazaa bahut aata hai. Ab kyon aata hai, ye mujhe nahin malum. I will continue doing it, until I can stand on my own feet. Jab nahin chal paoonga, tab wheelchair pe baith ke theatre karoonga. Aur jab main mar jaunga, tab mere jo students hai, woh karte rahenge. But I can never give up theatre. Kyonki mujhe apne being pe jo confidence hai aur jo kuch bhi mera education raha hai, it has all been through theatre.

You have directed many films but you have directed only one film…(Yun hota to kya hota)
Yeah and I’ll not direct another film. Film direction mere bas ki baat nahin hai.

But you made a good film…
Thank you, but I don’t think so. It was not a good film from my standards. Agar main itna harsh dusro ke baare mein ho sakta hoon to apne baare mein bhi utna hi harsh hona chahiye ye main manta hoon. Uss film mein bahut khamiya thi. I feel ashamed sometimes about it. The fact that it flopped does not bother me. But utni achchi film jitna banana chahta tha, who main nahin bana saka aur uske kayi kaaran hai. I am basically not a filmmaker, I am a theatre person. I enjoy directing in the theatre more.

How do you remember your colleagues like Farooq Sheikh, Ravi Baswani?
Dost the, azeez log the. Farooq Sheikh ko to main bahut hi achcha actor manta tha. Apni sehat ka khayal jo nahin rakhega jo insaan, toh fir yehi hoga na. Bahut bada jatka laga mujhe Farooq aur Ravi dono ke intakaal se.

There are many people who want to make a living out of theatre. They do it out of passion but they hold themselves back thinking that there’s no money in theatre. Do you think that would ever change?
No, it will never change. Theatre will always be a marginal activity. It will be only for the few crazy people who love it unconditionally and without any rational reason. Bahut se log mujhse puchte hai ki theatre kyon nahin itna popular hai jitna hamari filmein hai. Toh mera kehna yeh hai ki agar hum chahte hai ki theatre utna hi popular ho jitna hamari filmein hai, to jis tarah ki filmein hai, uss tarah ka humein theatre karna padega! To aap chahenge kya ki aap theatre par bhi David Dhawan jaisi film dekhein? Mere khayal se nahin chahenge aap. Aur film ki jo coverage hai screening hai. Ek film laakhon log dekh sakte hai ek hi waqt pe. Theatre mein yeh mumkin nahin hai.

Would you like to put up your plays on digital platforms?
No, because it just doesn’t work. No camera can capture the life. Nandita Das koshish kar rahi hai filmaane ki natakon ko. It’s a foolish exercise. Woh natak bahut bure lagte hai on film. Aur woh 100 saal baad bhi dekhe jaayenge aur log hasenge unpar.

Don’t you think that the government while giving permission to set up so many multiplexes should tell the owners to set up a dramatics auditorium as well?
Distributors ko kaun samjhayega? Rajat Kapoor ki bahut hi behtareen film aayi thi ‘Ankhon Dekhi’. It’s one of the best films I have seen in recent times. Woh ek hafta chali. Kyonki uski koi publicity nahin thi. Aur agle hafte koi monstrous Hindi film aane waali thi jisne saari screens book up kar rakhi thi. To kya kiya jaaye? Our only hope is to make films as cheaply as possible, taaki unki recovery mein utni mushkil na ho. Kyonki utne log aayenge hi nahin aisi filmon ko dekhne jitni ek Salman Khan ki film ko dekhne jaate hai. Hum yeh umeed hi kyon karein ki hamari film itni badi hit hogi aur 100 crore kamayegi?

Do you believe in the entire obsession over Oscar in our industry?
Meri samaj mein nahin aata ki kyon bhaagte hai hum Oscar ke peeche. Oscar mein rakha kya hai? Oscar utna hi bogus hai jitna koi bhi Pan Parag award.

And what about National Awards?
Usme bhi lobbying hoti hai. Aur jo log ye awards decide karte hai, woh saare out of work filmmakers hai. Mujhe koi kadar nahin inn awards ki.

What’s the importance of writing in both plays and films?
It is crucial aur wohi to kami hai hamare industry mein. Writers hai hi nahin. Nakal karne waale log hai. Aur nakal bhi theek se nahin kar paate. Lack of good writing is the bane of our industry.

But regional cinema comes up with films boasting of great stories. Don’t you think that we should take a step backward to rethink and give the writers the rightful importance?
Now, it’s too late. Salim-Javed ne writers ki value badhayi. Unki wajah se writers ko aaj kal paise achche milte hai. But it’s too late as Hindi films have gone beyond redemption point. Ab who aur badi hoti jaayengi. 100 crore, fir 200 crore, fir 1000 crore…that is the only criterion. That is the only thing anybody in the Bombay film industry is worried about. Quality of films and writing isn’t of any importance.

How much time and effort does it to take to develop a Hindi play?
Woh depend karta hai ki tarah ka play hai. Hum log jis tarah ka natak karte hai, usme bahut kam kharcha hota hai. Theatre mein essential cheez do cheezein hai – one, the actor and two, the text. Aur kisi teesri cheez ki zaroorat nahin hai natak karne ke liye.

And what about cost?
‘Ismat Apa Ke Naam’ hamara bahut ki kamyaab natak hai jo hum dus saal se karte aa rahe hai usme mushkil se humne 10-15000 kharche kiye honge.

Theater has given lot of actors to cinema. So don’t you think producers should be generous enough in supporting Theater?

Kyon de? Woh laakh rupaye doobenge nahin? Woh lakh rupaye tab denge jab uss lakh ke sau lakh ban jaaye. Artist wartist se kya lena dena? It amuses me frankly ki kitni paise ki bhookh ho sakti hai. Jin logon ke pass godamon mein bhara pada hai paisa, unhe bhi ab tak paise ki bhook hai.

What do you have to say about the PR machineries?
Maine aaj tak koi PR nahin rakha!

And how do you take care of your health, despite being so busy?
Main yoga ki class mein jaata hoon. Main har roz kuch na kuch sports zaroor khelta hoon. Horse riding ka mujhe behad shauk tha. Woh ab choot gaya kyonki meri kamar jawab de gayi hai. Lekin apne aap ko sehatmand rakhna actor ki zimmedaari hai. Aap audience se yeh nahi keh sakte ki uss din meri tabiyat kharaab thi. They are not interested! And gussa aata hai mujhe Smita Patil, Farooq Sheikh jaise logon pe. Mohan Gokhale mera bahut achcha dost tha. Heart attack ke baad bhi who sharaab peeta raha.

How pivotal was ‘Jalwa’ for you? That’s when we saw the physique of yours…

It was one of the most enjoyable shoots I have done in my life. ‘Jalwa’ shooting karte waqt mujhe aisa lagta tha ki main udd sakta hoon. And I did every single stunt in the film myself. I did some stunts which people don’t believe I did. I just felt I am indestructible. I don’t think I had so much confidence in myself ever in any movie. Uske baad Pankaj Parashar ne koi dhang ki film banayi nahin. Uska bhi mujhe afsos hai. ‘Jalwa 2’ ki baat karta rehta hai woh. Lekin woh bani nahin abhi tak.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mountains Of Hope

This is a poem I wrote for Aania, daughter of my friend Asif Siddiqui. Hope you like it. 

Innocent eyes
Stare at the world
Hoping for Change,
To obliterate boundaries,
Dreaming of
Rising above
The name
And the religion
That tags along,
Asking questions
Not from others
But herself,
My identity
Is by my Work
And nothing else..
Don't judge me,
Look at the footprints
In the snow
I am going to climb
Mountains of Hope
Come along
Join me,
Come with me....

Friday, September 5, 2014

My Tweet Review Of #MaryKom

1) There's something bout that's irresistible 4 it's a true story told rivetingly with an Extraordinary performance by Priyanka Chopra

2) Priyanka beats all her performances by a long distns.She spills blood,punches out negativity..yes u'll surely fall in love wid her

3) The fearless fighter,the rebellious-yet-loving daughter,d sensitive mom,resisting-the-demons of losing boxing,PC is Stellar in all

4) Priyanka Chopra deserves every award possible.If Oscar is the yardstick 4 the best,thn she surely deserves a nomination

5) Screenplay by Saiwyn Qadras is the backbone of the non linear trajectory n the surprises keep u interested...Always!

6) Sunil Thapa as coach is inspiring,Darshan as Mary's husband is wonderfully understated...Lots of unknown North East faces r superb

7) Music layers the story beautifully. and then finally r exceptional

8) If inspiring,real,hard hitting,motivating cinema gives u a kick,thn don't miss 4 anything.U'd also witness Women-Power, Literally!

9) I refrain from the star system in reviews but I'd give ***** stars to for it's one of the best films I've seen in a long time...

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Wonderful Write Up On My Mother Najma Mahmood's Raigistaan Mein Jheel By Tehseen Munawwar

A wonderful write up on my mother Professor Najma Mahmood's poetry collection 'Raigistaan Mein Jheel' by noted Urdu critic Mr Tehseen Munawwar. It was published in Urdu news paper 'Hamaara Samaaj'. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

My Cover Of Jumme Ki Raat From Kick

Jumme Ki Raat is a kick ass number from Salman Khan's Blockbuster Kick. This is one of the finest compositions of Mr Himesh Reshammiya. He has simply hit the ball out of the park with this energetic-adrenaline-rush number. Mika has sung it superbly. Kumaar and Shabbir Ahmed sahab have written very fine lyrics. Salman and Jacqueline have done an outstanding job of taking this song to another level altogether in the Sajid Nadiadwala film. The music has been out on the number one music label T Series. I have been practicing this song for a month and enjoyed the process of trying to get the nuances of the tough song right. I enjoyed singing it in the studio tremendously. My friend Hitesh Rupani has done the music arrangements for me and we recorded at his studio The Music Mistry Studio. The song was recorded by Hitesh  and the mixing engineer was Rahul Kharat. Hope you like this effort. Please like, share, tweet and spread the word. Thanks!!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cover Of Galliyan (Ek Villain) By Faridoon Shahryar Featuring Navneet Kedar

Galliyan is one of the finest well produced songs that I've heard in quite a while in Bollywood. Ankit Tiwari has composed and sung it brilliantly while Manoj Muntashir has written it beautifully. I am sure the director of Ek Villain, Mohit Suri has had a significant role in the final product too. I practised the song for over a month since it's not an easy song. My friend Navneet Kedar has arranged and mixed my cover of Galliyan wonderfully. Thanks for pouring your heart in brother. The song was recorded at Avicom Media by Ajinkya. Thanks Amit for your patience and support. The music of the original song was out on T Series. Ek Villain has been produced by Balaji Telefilms. Hope you enjoy my cover of Galliyan and please spread the word if you like it. Thanks! :-)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Prasoon Joshi's Heartfelt Poem Zikr Uska, Written For Dilip Kumar Sahab

Aamir Khan recited Prasoon Joshi's outstandingly evocative poem Zikr Uska at the launch of Dilip Kumar sahab's autobiography The Shadow And The Substance on June 9 at a memorable event in Mumbai. Prasoon pays ode to the finest Indian actor (and arguably one of the best in the world) in a unique manner. The meaning lies in the sensitive layers that unfold itself lucidly.            

Zikr Uska

Guzaarish hai havaaon ki hamein suraj se milvao
Hamein bhi roshni ke kaafilon ke saath le jao
Hamein maloom hain apni hadein Hum kaise kuch bolen 
Khili ho dhoop to nacheez deepak kaise muh khole
Magar mausam ki zid hai, phool bhi israar karte hain 
Unhe milna hai sooraj se vo usko pyaar karte hain 
Chalo karte hain koshish aaj uska zikr karte hain
Ujaalon ke samandar mein zara sa hum utarte hain
Ajab sa ye  samandar hai jo tum se milne aata hai
Khuda rahna nahin chaahta tumhaare saath gaata hai
Samandar ko nahin maloom uska dil kahan tak hai
Use to khatra khatra bus chalak jaane ki aadat hai

Use tha aasma choona magar apni hi sharton par
Use tha jeetna vo bhi magar apni hi sharton par
Vo aisi roshni chahta tha jisme ho na angaare
Vo aisi jeet chahta tha jahan koi bhi na haare

Darakhton ke usoolon ko samajhne ki karo koshish 
Alag mitti se bante hain alag hai unki har khwaahish 
Vo gamle ka nahin podha jahan chaahe uga do tum 
jahan chaahe laga do tum jahan chaahe saja do tum
Vo ugte hain zamen pe dil ki dil mein hi dhadakte hain 
Vo logon se jude hain aur unme hi zinda rahte hain

Chamakti cheez ko choone ko duniya paas aati hai
Vo shohrat paas jiske sur mein uske sur milaati hai 
Magar sooraj utarta hai to bheedein chathti jaati hain
Kahin sajde. kahin izzat, ibaadat, muskuraati hai
Ise shohrat nahin kahte bus uska noor kahte hain
Bulandi bhi nahin kahte karam bharpoor kahte hain 

Vo kahta hai mere hisse ki khushiyan baant do jaakar
Hai jitna dard sab bhar do mere seene mein tum laakar
Meri jholi mein jo aayega main vo sab lutaaonga 
jahan se jo mila hai sab jahan ko dekar jaoonga 

Mili sab ko zubaan par aankh uski baat karti hai
Mile sohbat agar uski to khamoshi bhi kahti hai
Bus uska zikr karne se savarte jaayenge hum bhi
Dhulenge uski baarish mein nikharte jaayenge hum bhi
Savarte jayenge hum bhi 
Nikharte jaayenge hum bhi...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Tsomgo Lake: Sikkim's Paradise

Day 7: May 8, 2014 

A guide at Tashi View Point told us yesterday that two cars had met with a serious accident while going to Tsomgo Lake some time back. He also said that the road is extremely dangerous. We had read a lot about Tsomgo Lake online. While almost everyone unanimously spoke about this Holy Lake in glowing terms, almost everyone commented on the dangerous terrain too. For three days in this month, the road to Tsomgo had been closed because of the adverse weather conditions. It rained last night and I wasn't sure if we would be able to make it today. To be honest we were very nervous before starting off on the 35 km journey.

Our driver stopped over for getting our Permit (you need a Permit from Indian Army for visiting this lake since it falls in the Army area and is very close to China border). I was still sceptical as we set out after getting the Permit. One urge told me that maybe we should cancel our trip. But then, the best way to overcome fear is to do things that you're afraid of. The journey is tough, the roads are totally torn at places but somehow I don't think it was as treacherous as it was made out to be. Actually I never looked in the valleys whenever we were faced with a sharp turn or a landslide prone area posed a bumpy path. I just looked at the road ahead and somehow it made me feel stronger.

Tsomgo Lake is at an altitude of 12400 feet. As our car snaked its way to higher regions, the temperature dropped, an influx of picturesque sceneries appeared at regular intervals and too many energetic waterfalls dotted our journey. All the wonderful locations that we've visited in the last six days was completely overshadowed by today's journey followed by the showstopper Tsomgo. The fresh snowfall on a mountain slightly ahead of Tsomgo was a brilliant sight. I' had never experienced snow. My daughter Insha came up close and personal with snow for the very first time too. We had fun playing in the snow, clicking pictures and absorbing the white magic all round us.

As we reached the spectacular Tsomgo Lake, it was engulfed in fog and we were really disappointed. As Insha went on a Yak ride, the fog started dissipating and within no time the magnificent lake unfolded its divine beauty in front of us. Serene, calm, straight out of a picture post card with big snow-sprinkled-mountains behind it. We went on a trek and explored the lake from a few of its notable points. The view changed dramatically as we moved forward after every small distance.

The journey back to Gangtok was a swift one. It took lesser time too. Somehow the images that stamped their indelible impression on our minds today will remain with us forever. Tsomgo Lake is difficult to reach but if you have an adventurous streak, you shouldn't miss it.

Gateway-To-Paradise:Incredible View From Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim