AND THEN ONE DAY || NASEERUDDIN SHAH

Rating : 5/10

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And Then One Day‘ took me back many years when I watched his first and last directorial venture (till date) ‘Yun Hota To Kya Hota‘. It had left me a little frustrated and confused.

“In an interview, Dr. Amitabh Bachchan in all his modesty answered that he doesn’t know direction and is happy being an actor. Mr. Naseeruddin Shah, the master of realistic acting and the God of theater after a long yearning to direct, finally had an opportunity to don the director’s hat with this film.[..] Mr. Naseeruddin Shah- How could you make such a lousy film? With a lifetime of experience, soulfulness and passion which infused life into your many characters, one would have thought directing a film is something you could even do while you are sleeping! I don’t have any other question to ask you, but I really hope you are surrounded by some honest friends who would have courage to tell you the truth when and if at all you decide to make a comeback as a director.” – review by Nidhi Kathuria of the movie on IMDB website

Maybe he was really surrounded by honest friends and family members. He listened to them and never directed again. I think he would even write again if the same friends are still around.

Now have a look at this (below). I am sure, you would not (or at least not want to) recollect this movie.

Mausam

“Pankaj Kapoor’s directorial debut – that made me have some expectations from the movie. an actor of the pedigree of Pankaj Kapoor, with his understanding of characters, would come up with something fresh and give life to a romantic saga movie – at least that was the hope. But this movie turns out to be anything but that. Its a joke – on the audience by the director and his crew…” –  review by Ankit Baweja of the movie on IMDB web

One more,

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‘Om Jai Jagadish’ was the only movie directed by Anupam Kher. His book is even more atrocious. And thank God Om Puri has not directed a movie.

All of these great actors are brilliant in their interviews: forceful, provocative, sharp, witty and engaging. The oratory skills swell with the crowd. They are always in the middle of a performance and can keep the listeners engaged even while sleeping. While Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin are regular in TV debates, I wonder how many directors are called to these news channels ? And even if they are called, they usually keep smiling without speaking much.

What happens when the best actors of the country direct movies ? Suddenly, it’s not just about them. They would need to fight their narcissism. Their performance, charisma, improvisations and wit would not suffice, it is a very large team which now has to deliver.

Does that mean, that to be the greatest of actors you also need to have something missing in you ?  That missing thing, which finally makes you human, which helps you to let yourself be moulded, not being aware of the method that your own self is capable of. The talent of being completely absorbed in a situation and becoming someone else, would need you to not know of some the consequences and dare I say, also not leaving you capable of grappling with a complex complete system, which is evident in the movies by the trio.

Could you replace Naseeruddin Shah with Pankaj Kapur in Ghalib? or Pankaj Kapur by Om Puri in Karam Chand? or Om Puri with Naseeruddin Shah in Tamas?

I know the die hard fans would have already left reading the article, but I’ll still say it..Yes, these actors were replaceable by other actors of the same calibre.

Einstein 3

“If acting is indeed a craft like a carpenter’s, why do most actors find it impossible to explain how in their work, the wood so as to say is sawed into the required shapes and the pieces put together to create.”

When I read this (above) half way through the book, I suddenly thought my hypothesis will be invalidated and even if he would explain his craft and his view on the thought behind the movies he did and the characters he played, it would be enough for me to crown him God (even after ‘Yun hota to kya hota’ and all his narcissistic, provocative but usually shallow interviews). But he never explained that, he never went into any characters’ details, story and its impact, type of cinema or anything really deep. Instead he chose to explain sex and drugs in his life in much more detail. It is more enjoyable to see this video (below) than go through an entire book. (below).

The reality is that the God of realistic acting is not the sum of all the characters he has played in his life. He is not Ghalib or Albert or Shylock or hundreds of those emotional, sensitive, witty, real people that he made us believe he was. There are a lot of confessions in the book but as if  he is talking to himself about himself (to be fair, he admits it himself, that the book is for himself).

“I have no idea in what sort of light I will appear if I say that for an unconsciously long time I felt nothing whatsoever for the child Heeba, but it is necessary that I confess it.”

“If I had to wipe out all the memories of my father and keep only one, this is the one I would keep. He actually wanted me to stay another day, he actually wanted my company ! He had never sounded anything but authoritative in all my conversations with him, but this was a side of him I had not known before, or had completely forgotten.”

Don’t take me wrong, he is one of the finest actors ever and I adore him and the family as a whole, where I think obviously he is the most dominating one. Have a look at this family interview. Isn’t humility a beautiful attribute he seems to have completely ignored?

He has been a part of every kind of Indian cinema. This book could have been a history of Indian cinema through his eyes. But I guess the his best moments can only be in front of the audience or the camera.

And in case the serious tone of the article upset you, something here to cheer you up my fellow Naseeruddin Shah fans.

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