Naseeruddin Shah

Playing Cyrano de Bergerac on the London stage, Naseer rings Indian cinema's death knell
Naseeruddin Shah
Naseeruddin Shah
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553
RECENTLY you trashed Ketan Mehta, called his Flms "utter rot". Such condemnation for your Mirch Masala director?
Bhavani Bhavai and Mirch Masala were the only good movies Ketan made which is not what you could say about Hero Hiralal or Oh Darling. 1 couldn't stand Maya Memsahib. Ketan's cinema has deteriorated drastically His Intentions have been corrupted.

How could you associate yourself with a disaster like Hero Hiralal If you had no faith In the director or tile film?
What we set out to make was very different from what got made. I expressed serious reservations, had terrible quarrels with Ketan during the shooting. I think he missed a fantastic opportunity to make a good film.

You pursue serious theatre, but scoff at serious cinema. Do you see a dichotomy there?
There is no such thing as serious cinema in India. 1 don't scoff at the desire to make good movies. I scoff at the quality at poseurs masquerading as masters of the medium. The low quality of their work belies their tall claims. They are barely competent.

What about Mrinal Sen?
No comment. I don't want to undermine anyone's talent.

What of middle-of-the-road filmmakers like Muzaffat Ali ?
Pretentious. Umrao jaan was okay but one good film doesn't make him a good filmmaker.

And Shyam Benegal?
He's definitely degenerated Into formula. His last good film was Manthan 13 years ago. Ankur, Nishant and Manthan were the only good films he made.

So do we have any good filmmakers in the country?
One. Shekhar Kapur. And he can't End work in India. There is really no hope for Indian cinema.

Why don't you take up cudgels? Change this?
The moment you try to point out flaws, you are branded as being a traitor. You're a good guy if you praise them, an enemy if you don't.

As an actor how do you choose your work? Are you disappointed or elated with the work you do?
I do what work I get. I'm disappointed half the time.

Do you have any film assignments in India?
None. Does that surprise you?

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