Jaggu Dada Had To Struggle To Make It As A Star; Tiger Shroff Found Success On A Platter

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460323504026{margin-bottom: 30px !important;padding-top: 15px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;background-color: #d8cce2 !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”732″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]Jaggu Dada, it was a name that spelt fear in the minds of people in the “Teen Batti” area of Walkeshwar in South Mumbai which is a place close to the Banganga which is a part of ancient Indian history and was recently visited by Prince William and his wife Catherine Middleton, and the Raj Bhavan, the house of the Governor of Maharashtra. Walkeshwar which has always been a blend of the rich and famous and the middle and lower class…[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460322946238{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]Jackie was born Jaikishan Kakubhai Shroff in a lower middle class family with his father being an astrologer and his mother being of Turkish origin. Jaggu was not interested in studies but spent most of his time walking the streets of “Teen Batti” with his group of boys who were together with Jaggu Dada known as “hooligans” by the “bhadralok” of the area. There were several complaints made by people in the locality about the activities of Jaggu Dada and his gang of boys. His name was so popular (?) that it was found in the registers of almost every police station in the area. Parents made it a point to see that their girls returned home before sunset because of the fear of “Jaggu Dada aanewala hai” but he never harmed women in anyway but on the contrary fought to protect them and there were many girls from the “bhadralok” society who were silently in love with this “modern day Robin Hood” and some who accepted him as their “Jaggu Bhai”.

His life took a big change when a beautiful girl from the higher strata of society called Ayesha Dutt fell in love with him. It was Ayesha who was impressed by his personality and personally helped him in finding opportunities for him to be a model. Jaggu Dada went from one advertising agency to another with some photographs. It was only the inspiration of Ayesha that kept him going and facing all the ups and downs and even the humiliation from the bosses running different advertising agencies. He finally got his first break as a solo model for Charminar cigarettes, the hoardings and posters of which caught the attention of people in all the major cities of India. Dev Anand who had his own popular spot to publicize his films even when he was making them, saw Jaggu Dada in the poster and decided to cast him in a bit role in his multi-starrer “Swami Dada”.

It was Subhash Ghai who saw Jaggu Dada in “Swami Dada” and kept him in mind. He wanted to make a film with either Kumar Gaurav, Sanjay Dutt or Sunny Deol who were the star-sons who were the rage of the industry in the eighties but they demanded the kind of prices Subhash Ghai could not afford to pay them and did not want to pay them because he did not believe that they were deserving of the astronomical prices and it was when he had completed the script of his new film that he remembered that handsome man in the poster for Charminar cigarettes. He found him, gave him the name Jackie Shroff and cast him in the title role in his film “Hero”…

It was the beginning of a very unusual success story and today after more than thirty-five years Jackie Shroff is still the most admired and loved stars who has not only worked in Hindi films but in various other languages and has not only played the hero and the villain and the father of the heroine but has also played the “Saibaba of Shirdi”. He is the father of Tiger Shroff and a daughter called Krishna and has the courage to face uphill struggles and take success in his stride…

Jaggu Dada had an elder brother whose name was Hemant and who Jaggu Dada looked up to as his idol. He was also known for his brave deeds but had died young which brought about a major change in Jaggu Dada. He lived with the memories of Hemant and when he had his first son after marrying Ayesha Dutt, he named him Jai Hemant after his brother.

Jackie Shroff who was now a star brought up his son to be a man to face the challenges of the world. I remember how Jackie used to sit with Hemant in his lap when he was driving some of the most expensive cars and by the time Jai Hemant was three years old, he could drive a Mercedez. As Jai Hemant grew up, he showed interest in all kinds of action and was a prominent member of some of the best gyms. He was also trained as an actor and within no time, a daring producer like Sajid Nadiadwala decided to give him his first break as a hero in his film “Heropanti”, in which he proved how good he could be as a young actor. There were many offers that came to Tiger (a name that was given to him by his father) but he waited for the right offer for his second film and the second offer also came from Sajid with the same director, Sabbir Khan but with a new heroine, Shraddha Kapoor. As it will soon be time for his second film, “Baaghi The Rebel” it would be only right to go into the story of Tiger Shroff so far…

Tiger was born as Jai Hemant Shroff on 2 March 1990 to Jackie Shroff and Ayesha. He has one sister, Krishna, who is three years younger. Shroff’s paternal grandparents were Kakubhai Shroff, a Gujarati astrologer, and Rita Shroff, an ethnic Turk from Kazakhstan, while his maternal grandfather was Air Vice-Marshal Ranjan Dutt, a Bengali, who was married to Claude-Marie de Cavey, a Belgian countess. He did his schooling at the American School of Bombay and attended Amity University.

Shroff helped Aamir Khan build his physique for “Dhoom 3”. He also holds a fifth degree black belt in Taekwondo. In September 2009, Shroff was said to have declined the lead role in the remake of TV show “Fauji”. In January 2010, it was reported that Subhash Ghai would be launching Shroff in the remake of his father’s 1983 film “Hero”, though Shroff eventually rejected the offer. In May 2011, it was reported that Aamir Khan was also keen on signing Shroff, however, the news was eventually termed as false. In June 2012, Shroff was finally signed on by Sajid Nadiadwala to make his debut in “Heropanti”.
“Heropanti” was released on 23 May 2014 and proved to be a box office success, despite mixed reviews from critics. For his debut performance, Shroff garnered mainly mixed to positive reviews, with critics predominantly praising his dancing skills and ability to perform stunts.

“Baaghi-The Rebel” is due for release next week and the actor who is doing only one film at a time has just one more film on hand, “A Flying Jatt” which is making steady progress even as his image as a star keeps growing.
Will Tiger prove to be the superhero on a flight of his own? That is the big question whose answer largely depends on how he fights fate and how he emerges as a new hero as the rebel in “Baaghi- the Rebel”.

I know how Jackie, Tiger’s father must be feeling at this stage of his only son’s career but from whatever little I know about this industry, I can assure my friend Jackie that his son will be a bigger star than him and I also know that he will be one father who will be very proud to be out beaten by his son as a star.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Maharashtra State Government To Honour Jeetendra And Anil Kapoor With Its Prestigious Raj Kapoor Awards

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1461768912226{margin-bottom: 30px !important;padding-top: 15px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;background-color: #dce8b4 !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”770″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]The Government of Maharashtra has been honouring personalities from the film industry down the years even as it does honour to the greatest showman of India Raj Kapoor, in whose name it presents these prestigious awards.
In keeping with its tradition, it has decided to present the veteran actor Jeetendra with the Raj Kapoor Award described as the “Jeevan Gaurav Puraskaar” for his long standing and outstanding contribution to Indian cinema and Anil Kapoor with the same award for his contribution to cinema, as a producer, the owner of a film and television company and for making a mark after starting as a junior artist.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460322946238{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Government of Maharashtra has been honouring personalities from the film industry down the years even as it does honour to the greatest showman of India Raj Kapoor, in whose name it presents these prestigious awards.
In keeping with its tradition, it has decided to present the veteran actor Jeetendra with the Raj Kapoor Award described as the “Jeevan Gaurav Puraskaar” for his long standing and outstanding contribution to Indian cinema and Anil Kapoor with the same award for his contribution to cinema, as a producer, the owner of a film and television company and for making a mark after starting as a junior artist.

Jeetendra started his career as a junior artist in V.Shantaram’s “Sehra” and played the leading man in Shantaram’s “Navrang” and “Geet Gaaya Pattharone”. He shot to fame as a star with “Farz” and then was the leading man of more than three hundred films shot in Mumbai and some of his most successful films in the south. Among the more known films in which he played the central character are “Himmatwala”, “Tohfa”, “Maqsad”, “Mashaal”, “Khushboo”, “Parichay”, “Kinaara”, “Jeene Ki Raah”, “Humjoli” and “Santaan”. He produced his own films under the banner of Tirupati Pictures and has been the source of inspiration behind Balaji Telefilms run by his wife, Shobha, daughter Ekta and brother-in-law Ramesh Sippy.

He is in his early seventies but is still very active in the everyday working of the company. He has however not been seen on the screen big or small for several years but is active in film and social circles.

Anil Kapoor started his career as a production assistant to his brother, Boney Kapoor and made a beginning as an actor in a Kannada film and then showed how good an actor he was in his first few films like “Woh Saat Din”, “Saaheb”, “Eeshwar”, “Kaahaan Kaahaan Se Guzar Gayaa” and besides doing films like “Shakti” and “Mashaal” with thespians like Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan, he shot to superstardom with “Mr. India”. He has done more than a hundred films of different genres in Hindi and is also the producer who has made films like “No Entry”, “Gandhi My Father” and films he has presented for his daughter Rhea. He has also made a name for himself in Hollywood films like “Slumdog Millionaire”, “Mission Impossible” and the internationally popular TV serial “24” which he is now producing in its second season in Hindi and at sixty he is still full of energy and ideas to build an empire of his own with him as the head and his daughters Sonam, Rhea and son Harshvardhan as his pillars.

The awards were announced by the Cultural Affairs Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Vinod Tawde and will be presented at a grand open air function in Mumbai on April 30.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The Shahenshah Dilip Kumar Survives One More Scare

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1461768912226{margin-bottom: 30px !important;padding-top: 15px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;background-color: #dce8b4 !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”765″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]Dilip Kumar, the actor known as “the emperor of acting” has been ailing since a number of years and has been recuperating at home under the care of his wife Saira Banu and family doctors.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460322946238{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]Dilip Kumar, the actor known as “the emperor of acting” has been ailing since a number of years and has been recuperating at home under the care of his wife Saira Banu and family doctors.

On April 14, he developed a serious chest infection and fever and was rushed to the Lilavati Hospital where he spent a week on medication because the doctors felt treating him at the ICU of the hospital could be a risk because of his heart problems and other age-related problems. He was under the specialized treatment of Dr. Jalil Parker, a noted chest physician.

The rumours of his health deteriorating and even some nasty rumours about his so called passing away spread almost every three hours but he finally walked out of the hospital “hale and hearty”. The thespian is ninety-three.
Incidentally, there are two major films with which he is associated which have still to be released, “Kalinga”, directed by him for the first time and “Aag Ka Dariya” both of which have been lying in the cans for several years.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Udit Narayan honoured with the PADMA BHUSHAN

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1461768912226{margin-bottom: 30px !important;padding-top: 15px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;background-color: #dce8b4 !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”759″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]Udit Narayan Jha renowned as Udit Narayan has recently conferred with second highest civilian award of the country PADMA BHUSHAN from The President of India.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460322946238{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]Udit Narayan Jha renowned as Udit Narayan has recently conferred with second highest civilian award of the country PADMA BHUSHAN from The President of India. He got PADMA SHRI third highest civilian award in 2009. He is a winner of Three National awards, five Filmfare awards, two MTV music video awards one MTV Asia music award. O ne IIFA and all awards related to music. He has been serving the Nation with his songs for over three decades in thirty six different languages.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Siddharth Malhotra

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”748″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1460315278939{margin-bottom: 70px !important;}”][vc_column_text]Interview By: Amul Vikas Mohan[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1462370418284{margin-bottom: 50px !important;padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;background-color: #d0c5db !important;}”]

He is just five films old. But the kind of consistency that he has shown in his short but illustrious journey is absolutely laudable. Whether it’s an ambitious student (SOTY) or a confused and under-confident businessman (Hasee Toh Phasee) or an angel-hearted criminal (Ek Villain) to an aspiring author in Kapoor and Sons – he has pulled off every role with ease. Apart from being appreciated for his performances, all his movies have fetched good numbers for the producers too. We caught up with the heart-throb at his place as he basks in the success of his recently released movie (which is still running and is loved by masses as well as classes and opens up about other things in his career. Read on for excerpts.

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”“Eventually it’s a business and you have to perform at the box-office”” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:30|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Condiment%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460326011950{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]You had a great release in Kapoor and Sons this year. What’s the feeling right now considering the response it got from the audience?

No offence to all my other directors and films but by far I have got the best response for Kapoor and Sons. Also we are feeling way more happy and excited because we didn’t expect it. We thought we were making a smaller film and for a certain section of audience. But now everyone came in and connected to it and felt it was a story of their household. They felt all the emotions we wanted them to but we did it in a different way. We did it in a much more subtle, much more real way, unlike a Dharma productions movie. And people have liked this side of me. I have got certain reviews or texts saying ‘the best so far Sid…happy to see you this way’ which I’ve saved. So I can’t complain. The response has been encouraging but it’s also confusing. My most successful film was Ek Villain and it was an intense character but people loved it. Most recently for Kapoor and Sons it was different kind of love – a different side, a lighter side is being appreciated. So hoping to maintain both and keep people guessing and excited by doing all genres.
From the outside Kapoor and Sons looked like a niche film in a way it was just promoted or spoken about. You all were not too aggressive with the marketing….

It was definitely a strategy that we followed to reduce the number of days to promote the film. Again based on the kind of film that we made and as you said – the different zone, the different tone, a different world that Shakun Batra had created really well cannot be considered as a mainstream Hindi feature film. So we thought let’s apply the same strategy to the promotions as well. It’s not a mainstream film where we can go out and just start dancing and people will understand what kind of movie it is. It’s very difficult to make people understand the kind of movie it was in promotions. As you saw in the film it was not about a single character or a single track. It’s an experience of a whole house and it’s a family film which has everything. Definitely it was a strategy to reduce the number of days for promotion to minimum because we cannot sell it on one aspect and it was just the three of us promoting it. But I think that’s what has been encouraging for us as everything that we have done off the norm for this film – be it our acting, promotions or packaging of the film, all have worked. We have made money at the box-office. Obviously we have got appreciation too. Hopefully it will be a trend and people will understand this style of acting. You don’t need to scream out every emotion to make the audience feel happy, sad and scared. It can be understood within subtle lines and just by good writing and the actors have to do much lesser. These experiences are equally good. People came out saying we cried and we found it very funny, things were very candid. All things were done taking it very easy and subtle which I’m very happy about because I like that kind of acting and I come from that zone. I hope many films will be made in this zone and people would really enjoy them.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460326021861{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Your last three releases were very different – how easy or difficult is it for an actor or performer to switch from one to the other in terms of mental space to approach a new idea with a new scenario in your mind?

Here our schedules were so jam-packed that the amount of homework that I would like to do I feel sometimes I don’t get it. I did take that time off for Brothers just purely to take care of the physical aspect of it which then is never the end result that you want. But as far as the preparation is concerned, the directors always come first. The first seating is always with them jamming and all of us workshop now and did our scenes before. The easy way I find is getting into the physicality of the character. Like Ek Villain was the first time where I had to bulk up or try a tattoo on my body or scar and have two different hairstyles and color also – which were very subtle things and was never like screaming out. People didn’t recognize me in Brothers for the first time when they saw me in beard and buzzed hair. For Kapoor and Sons I let go all of that and you can see nothing physically appealing about this character. He is a very regular guy who would not go to the gym and be obsessed about bodybuilding. So for me it’s always the physical thing and the rest follows. If I don’t feel like my character in the film then I feel it’s wrong. Just imagine if I threaten my brother when I’m really big and muscular in Kapoor and Sons then the scenes lose its charm and it doesn’t look like a house anymore. It will look like I’m a big boy in the house overpowering my parents. So it appears like you are not really into the world of it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”“You don’t need to scream out every emotion to make the audience feel happy, sad and scared. It can be understood within subtle lines and just by good writing and the actors have to do much lesser” ” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:18|text_align:center|line_height:2″ google_fonts=”font_family:Condiment%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css=”.vc_custom_1462370584235{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 5px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;background-color: #eaeaea !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”396″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460325104671{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]Also Boobly in Kapoor and Sons, that guy has worked out for everyone!

Yeah…Boobly or Boobs as we say, with just that one line he is just so amazing and he has become a star. That speaks about a good film when even small characters are noticed.

You are being consistent now. Is that a genuine thing that you want to keep aiming for? Be it box-office results and performances – those are two things and being consistent in both these things, is that what you want to strive for in future with your other films? 

It took me a while to understand how important it is to do that. Not coming from the industry I did not really understand what it is for a film to do a certain number in certain areas, the way it used to affect money. I didn’t know what box-office was. I felt box-office is just a thing as most of India thinks – good and bad or hit and flop in that sense. I have understood the technicality lately. Earlier I was very naive and unaware of that. But now when I look back, from Student Of The Year to Kapoor and Sons out of all the five films, four of them have done 70 crores plus worldwide and the only film which didn’t do was HaseeToh Phasee it still earned profit for the producers and it was a very small film. So the understanding of that is also important because eventually it’s a business and you have to perform at the box-office for the producers and the last thing you want as an actor is not to make money with your film. So now I think as I’m getting more mature and into the industry I’m becoming more conscious of the budget of a film. Like for all my future films I ask the producers about the budget and discuss how and where we cannot waste money because it’s just adds extra pressure to the actors to perform at the box-office. But I have been pretty consistent and lucky in that way to get those numbers and in different genres which I like to attempt and it’s not that I want to do the same thing again and again. I think people are appreciating and liking it. And the interval is to make it a norm – it’s the script first and come up with a new story, adapt as much as you can to a film and make money at the box-office.

What kind of role would you like more? What comes naturally to you? Whether it’s all action with different kind of looks or very subtle, natural?

I think mostly the world which is exciting as a child may be because everybody likes to beat up people. So I like beating up as many people as I can and it makes me feel very heroic and powerful. That is the exciting aspect about it. But I think where I can play around much more and have more fun in sound performances, expressions is definitely the lighter roles like in Hasee Toh Phasee or Kapoor and Sons where you can improvise a lot.  Once you are playing an intense character you are very restricted because that’s pretty much that guy can do. If he is a very serious and straight forward guy then he won’t suddenly spring up another emotion or crack a joke. Whereas if you are playing a lighter character, the world is much easier because of the scope of improvisation and I enjoy it a lot. I’m doing another lighter role in Baar Baar Dekho and again going back to beating people up in another Fox action movie by Raj and D.K. Not doing it often or not keeping it back to back also keeps me exciting. When I enter a frame now and instead of cracking a joke I have to take a pose or kick the guy, it’s exciting if you do that after few months or few years you train because you get better or you have that experience and you can use that experience. I approach an action sequence more differently now because of the Brothers and Ek Villain experience, there will be more swiftness and slicker. It’s not that it’s a conscious effort but I have been lucky in getting good scripts and flipping between them.

What about competition right now with all the younger lot actors who have come with you and around you and where do you see yourself?

We all are aware of the competition and how many people are there for a film for a particular budget. Categories are made according to budgets here of how much you can spend on these actors so you would group actors according to what they would get at the box-office. I belong to a particular group and the endeavor is to break out and go into a higher one. And producers look for consistency. One can break out from the regular and carve his own niche. Baar Baar Dekho is slightly higher in budget according to my budget. I think all of us are not considered for the same role and that’s why we are saved. We all have different styles of acting and also we are physically very different. If I would say I one edge is that I probably have is that I have done more action films as compared to the others who have not ventured into action films. Keeping aside the competition all of us are different and new in our thinking, to realize that it’s up to the box-office and it doesn’t really matter socially whether it’s going to be your Friday or my Friday. Whatever is bound to happen will ultimately happen. We leave it to the box-office. We watch each other’s movies, comment and we are still in touch.  We all are very amicable and professional.

Tell us about the brands that you are part of.

There is an international Coca Cola campaign which was shot in Wal Mart. For the first time we have tried to replicate an international ad. Coca Cola is the biggest brand in the world and it is sold in every country and every corner. But now we are also justifying our position there to endorse such a big brand because our films are making money there and I have certain films lined up for future there. I had a great time shooting with them. And for the first time I shot an ad for Pakistan. I shot for Sprite, again it’s from the Coca Cola family. I got to work with Ali Zafar in an ad film which only airs in Pakistan. It was my first interaction with a Pakistani production team but those guys were extremely excited and warm. They know our movies and television. I met Fawad and had a great time. That was something unique and I did something out of the country. Also I was in New Zealand for 10 days and promoted tourism, adventure sports for them. I have got few more brands now. I find these ads creatively very fulfilling to do where you can contribute too. With a good team onboard you can try on different looks, styles, hairstyles. That’s also like a benefit for actors. More people see you on television and that adds to your branding. It’s a win-win situation for both the product and the actor. Now I’m completely into it. I understand brands and how it works. I’m enjoying the ad world also.

Lastly five years from now which is that one movie you want to be known for?

I’m can’t be biased to any particular director and it’s unfair. They all gave me chance to do something new. The directors had faith in me that I would be able to do justice to the roles that were offered to me because everything was new to me and nothing was really in my comfort zone. To be known that I never had a comfort zone or one zone where people would feel that he could pull off very easily, to have it in a decade that every time there would be some element of experimentation. Hopefully, after a decade I will be having more 100 crore films and much bigger films. Just out of emotional quotient for me Ek Villain will always be special. Now again in retrospect I have realized how difficult it is to arrive at that number, how difficult it is to get what we got on a Friday – the 3 digit number. That Friday we couldn’t understand that time what was happening and we partied till late night. The number was above 10, something around 16 and now after two films we realize how difficult it is to get that number. So I think with all those memories I would like to remember Ek Villain and cherish. Just to be fair to all my other directors it’s really difficult to choose any movie purely based on performances.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Javed Akhtar’s Term as Rajya Sabha Member Ends on a Fiery Note

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460323504026{margin-bottom: 30px !important;padding-top: 15px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;background-color: #d8cce2 !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”404″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]Among the members of the Rajya Sabha who retired on March 16 was the well-known poet and Hindi film lyricist Javed Akhtar.

He will always be remembered as the MP who raised the issue of the amendment in the Copyright Act which got lyricists the right to have a share in the earnings of a film.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460322946238{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]His victory brought relief to song writers, but the industry did not take it, they in fact took a decision to boycott Javed Akhtar as a lyricist and he had to be satisfied with writing songs only for his son, Farhan Akhtar and daughter Zoya Akhtar. According to several leaders of the industry, he was one MP from the industry who could have raised the manifold problems of the industry as he is a very enlightened and eloquent speaker, but in all the six years that he was in the Rajya Sabha, he did not raise his voice for the industry even once.

However on the last day of his term, he made a hard-hitting speech in which he said that “adjournments” and “polarisation” will not take the country forward. He pleaded with the Opposition and the government to work together without thinking about the next elections. Taking a break from the usual uproar, the different political parties in the Upper House were seen cheering Akhtar unanimously.

Akhtar, who was nominated to the Upper House by the UPA government, said there are capable leaders in the Modi Government who can do good work but those making extremist comments, need to be reined in. “I hope both Opposition and the government will work together. Adjournments will not take us forward. Even polarisation will not take us forward. Please forget next elections and think about the country,” he said in his impassioned speech. The House listened to him in rapt silence and occasionally burst into applause after a particularly good statement.  The lyricist slyly slammed AIMIM leader and MP Asaduddin Owaisi for saying that he won’t chant ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ because the Constitution does not ask him to do so.

Taking a dig at Owaisi’s constitutional rights, Akhtar said, “The Constitution even does not ask him to wear sherwani (dress) and topi (cap)… I don’t care to know whether saying ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ is my duty or not but it is my right.” He went on to chant ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ a number of times. He also condemned the right-wing extremists who say Muslims should go to Pakistan. On religious freedom, Akhtar said time does not stop and the country either would move forward or backward. “One who learns from experience is intelligent. But those who learn from others’ experiences are more intelligent. Look at those countries where religion is given importance, where the tongue is cut and people are hanged if they speak against religion. Whether that country should be an example for us or a country where there is religious freedom, we have to think,” he said.

Expressing concern over lack of development in the country, Akhtar said India has industrialised and become a big power now but “more could have been achieved. Anyway whatever has been achieved is no less.” At the same time, he said, “We need to think why there is no development despite there being government and system in place? We want development but whose development and for whom? We need to think.” He added, “Development is not GDP. Development is Human Development Index. Be it any party, they wish the development of the country. Why are our energies wasted?”

On democracy, he said, “We are fortunate to have democracy though we complain about the government and society. We are not grateful for what we have with us. We don’t thank our Constitution enough. The Constitution gives democracy. But remember, there cannot be democracy without secularism.” He said that the meaning of democracy is taking views of the  majority and not minority. “But democracy believes that majority and minority is not permanent. They keep changing. Democracy will die the day we define minority and majority in our own way.” Emphasising the need to protect secularism, Akhtar said protecting secularism is not about protecting one community or the other. “We need to protect secularism because there cannot be democracy without it. I believe this is our greatest achievement.” Besides democracy and the Constitution, Akhtar said India has youth power unlike Japan and China. “The country’s 50 percent of the population is young. 35 crore people are youth and in the age group of 10-15 years. They have lot of energy and talent,” adding, “Japan has lost this advantage and China is losing this advantage. You have 20 years to take advantage of the youth power. Both Opposition and the government have to think about it,” he said.

P.S. Akhtar has been speaking about his ambition to direct a film for long but has still not found the opportunity. Now that he is free of  all his responsibilities as a MP and does not have enough work as  a lyricist, isn’t it the best time for him to fulfil his ambition and direct his film which he has always wanted to?[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Alia Bhatt

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Alia Bhatt is at her sprightly best despite the hectic day amidst promotions for her latest outing ‘Kapoor & Sons’. One moment she personifies uteness while flashing her smile, while on the other, she talks like a mature lady making perfect sense. Extremely honest and a complete delight at it, here’s Alia Bhatt speaking about her latest release and more…

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”“I don’t want to be one of those people who become famous and then irritating”” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:30|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Condiment%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460326011950{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]You’ve said earlier that you look for a challenge quotient in every film you pick. In that sense, what was the challenge in ‘Kapoor & Sons’?

I think in the conventional terms, or according to the popular perception, this might be considered a risky film to pick up. It’s not a typical song-and-dance, so to say, commercial film. Although now a days, the whole idea of a commercial film is only changing, good films are doing well. Secondly, this film doesn’t revolve around me. It is about this family. If you see the screen time, then I probably have the least screen time. So, the challenge for me was to make my presence felt in whatever screen time I had. It was important to make my character well-etched. When it came to this film, the quality of the character was more important than quantity. Thankfully, it was so well-written by Shakun and Aisha that I just had to work on making it my own. To me, the idea of being a part of a good film is much more important than being the main part of an average film. I just thought it was a very endearing, sweet film.

So this one is a change from the usual larger-than-life, loud, song-and-dance films?

Yes, although I don’t think I’ve ever been a loud actor. Ironically though, in this film, it’s the loudest I have been. I’m a very happy character. In a film like this, you need to break the tension with some laughter, and it’s also the laughter covering a certain amount of depth. So, my character is also having a back story but whenever I’m coming in the film, it’s a breath of fresh air, because she is a very free-spirited character. And it has Shakun’s unique  sensibility. This is an approach into the 2016 modern family. here’s lot of conflict, fight, craziness, confrontation and that’s how it is in most families. You’re not always happily sitting and having dinner. And yet, you want to be there in each other’s good and bad days. So, the story is about love and relationships, but not just a boy-girl kind of love.

At this point, is it important to you that ‘Kapoor & Sons’ does well, box-office wise, especially after ‘Shandaar’? Or do you never think about that aspect of your films?

If you want me to talk about that technically, then ‘Kapoor & Sons’ is anyway a smaller film. It doesn’t have a very high budget. I read a tweet somewhere about how ‘Kapoor & Sons’ is like ‘Shandaar 2’ because it gives the same feeling. I would not say that. I want to clarify that this film has a lot of depth and emotions. It’s a film everyone can relate to it. And if everyone can relate to it then obviously, the sky is the limit but one will only have to wait and see how it does eventually.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460326021861{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Does the appreciation you’ve got for your varied choices set a benchmark or raise expectations? And does that remain in your head while making further career choices?

I cannot always think about what the audience expects because then in that case, I would not take risks. One has to keep it in mind, but go by the instincts. For instance, I tried to choose a fun and frolic film with ‘Shandaar’, I really liked the script when I read it. It didn’t work out eventually and I will learn from my mistake. But that doesn’t make me feel bad about choosing that film. I don’t regret it because every decision I’ve taken has been instinctive.  Perhaps, I was way more scared and nervous before ‘Shandaar’, and now I’ve become calmer. Eventually, the film has to work its magic. But while choosing, I will go by what I like. Also, I need variety! After ‘Kapoor & Sons’, you’re going to see me in an avatar you have never seen me in. So, hopefully that will continue always.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”“I have started transporting into the world of the film. That’s the way I can respond the best. If I’m thinking too much, it shows”” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:18|text_align:center|line_height:2″ google_fonts=”font_family:Condiment%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css=”.vc_custom_1460327184310{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 5px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;background-color: #eaeaea !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”400″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full” css=”.vc_custom_1460327326106{margin-top: 5px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460325104671{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]While your process may differ from film to film, you’ve always believed in feeling what you’re doing, isn’t it?

Yes, I have started transporting into the world of the film. That’s the way I can respond the best. If I’m thinking too much, it shows. But if  it’s a film like ‘Udta Punjab’ which is so far away from my reality, I have to really prepare for it. I think that film has required the  maximum amount of preparation from me. On the other hand, for ‘Kapoor & Sons’, Shakun made me watch a lot of random and cool films like ‘Drinking Buddies’. Also, since I’ve worked with him on that ‘Genius Of The Year’ video, I knew it’s not easy to please him. He’s into a different, Woody Allen kind of zone so I just went with his vision. So, definitely the process changes with each film.

Lots of appreciation, a bit of criticism, growing up and the transition from being naïve to responsible…no wonder you’re happy!

I’m very grateful, there’s no doubt about that. But I have my days when I’m really moody but that only my loved ones will get to bear (laughs). Yes, I’ve grown up a lot, and you have to expose yourself to experiences. That’s why I’m one of those actors who will insist on taking at least two holidays in a year. That’s the only way I can get to experience something that is not work, that’s the only way I’ll get different perspectives. So, I’m learning more, observing much more. For instance, I’ve just worked with Shah Rukh Khan and the amount I’ve learnt from him is amazing. I just completely changed a lot of things in my head while working with him. The more work I’m doing, I’m realizing that things are so different when you are more aware. I wish I knew so much when I started out. So that’s how it is, you just keep getting better. But you know what? Somewhere down the line, I miss being naive. I still feel I have a bit of innocence, but I miss the bit of not knowing. I want to not know. I feel the more I know, the more I am overthinking and judging. Now I’m giving marketing ideas when we promote films. It’s good also in a way but it gets exhausting. That’s why I keep telling myself that you don’t know anything, the world is way smarter than you and everyone else knows much more. I don’t want to be one of those people who become famous and then irritating (smiles).

Tell us about how this year looks for you?

I’m very excited, it’s a big year because I have three films releasing, if hopefully even Gauri Shinde’s film releases this year. I feel that I have done a lot of different stuff. So, the three avatars you will see me in are different from each other, and from anything you’ve seen me in before. So, there’s a lot in store, but I’m not having too many high hopes. I’m just waiting because I feel like it’s going to be productive.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Sidharth Malhotra

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From being an assistant to Karan Johar and being launched by him to actually experimenting and having women swoon over him – Sidharth Malhotra has come a long way. Though the ‘Ek Villain’ actor still is in no mood to enjoy that comfort or take things lightly. After two intense portrayals, just as he’s back in a jovial mode with ‘Kapoor & Sons’. He’s slightly under the weather as evident from his voice and eyes, but we catch up with the dishy actor for a quick chat over lunch, where he talks about the film and his learning experiences so far.

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”“I still don’t think I’ve made a space for myself”” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:30|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Condiment%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460326011950{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]‘Hasee Toh Phasee’, ‘Ek Villain’, ‘Brothers’ and now ‘Kapoor & Sons’ – there’s been a striking variety! 

(Smiles) yes! But we can only choose what we get so in that sense, it has been conscious. What excites me about every film I’m doing is being able to attempt something new. After ‘Kapoor & Sons’ also, there is ‘Baar Baar Dekho’ with Katrina Kaif which is a concept love story. I’m doing a pure love story after a while, so it will be a good change. I play a professor who is stuck in some zone and is very hyper. And then again, I’m doing an action film which has Jacqueline and me. I’ll be training in martial arts for it. So, it is an effort to try something new, although it doesn’t really go by the norms. I think it is not considered so cool to do that so early in your career. For instance, the whole look change – gaining muscles, having a beard and cutting my hair – for ‘Brothers’ was drastic. It was a lot to invest that kind of time in one film, and not have a release for a year.

Are you happy about it eventually?

I’m happy in terms of experiencing it. I tried something new. The film wasn’t accepted in terms of our expectations from it, but that
was also a learning experience. You might have a good opening on a Friday because of the actors or the whole team but Monday is when the film will speak for itself. That was important for me to realise and experience because before that, I was riding on extreme success with ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’ and ‘Ek Villain’. While the former benefited all of us, the latter was a great boxoffice success. So, Brothers’ taught me a lot. Such experiences help you mature.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460326021861{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]What was the most exciting about ‘Kapoor & Sons’? How did you adapt to Shakun Batra’s sensibility?

I was excited about the fact that I’d get to play a lighter character after two brooding characters back-to-back. I was looking forward to play the goofier, lighter one in the family. The difference in the look is also coming from that. And Shakun cannot allow us to do something very dramatic or typical Hindi film type because of his sensibility. He likes to break norms as much as possible. He likes to make it more real and organic. So, it was refreshing to be on a set like that. It’s a great positive that Shakun has. His talent comes from giving the emotion which the script needs and the freedom to the actor to perform the way he wants to.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”“One Friday you’re happy because a film is successful, and another Friday that same success troubles you because people start comparing. So it’s funny how success is measured in the industry.“” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:18|text_align:center|line_height:2″ google_fonts=”font_family:Condiment%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css=”.vc_custom_1460326328542{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 5px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;background-color: #eaeaea !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460325104671{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Most actors tap into their own personality while moulding themselves for a character. Is it the same with you?

Yes, I believe! We all tap into our own personalities, eventually to give out any performance because you prefer to do it with conviction. In that sense, I think this character has been the closest to however I am in my real life. I’m the youngest in my family. I’m used to this household and have a similar upper middle-class upbringing, so it was easier to bring that out from my own personality. But sometimes when you do something you’ve not experienced, that’s when the director and actors have to be in sync with each other. For example, a film like ‘Brothers’ or even ‘Ek Villain’. I’m not used to being that aggressive. That’s when you need that push and padding from your director and co-stars.

A while ago, you’d mentioned that making a space for yourself here is the biggest struggle for you. Do you think you’ve managed to do that?

I still don’t think I’ve made a space for myself, in the sense that I
still don’t feel comfortable. But I like that feeling because then, I’m not taking things for granted. I’m not thinking that this film is easy for me or I’m perhaps not taking any kind of work for granted. Again, I learnt that from ‘Brothers’. Post ‘Ek Villain’, I would have taken things for granted because the film just happened out of the box and it killed it at the box-office. The sheer interest which people
showed in going and watching the film was overwhelming. But then ‘Brothers’ has leveled it up for me. And that was a training for life because every Friday will be different. You cannot have a sure shot goal which you want to chase. Today, I’m in a boat where I know that even if a Friday is good, it is temporary, and if it is bad then that’s also temporary. One Friday you’re happy because a film is successful, and another Friday that success troubles you because people start comparing. So it’s funny how success is measured in the industry. You’ve also opened up with time… I used to guard myself earlier because it I thought it didn’t matter. But now, I have pushed myself to open up because I understood how important it is to show various aspects of your personality. My initial instinct was to keep it to myself, because I thought that this is work and my personal life shouldn’t be of concern. But it does in a way. I realised that people like to see the various shades in an actor. So, it is important to open up and show that I’m all of this but also much more![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Why Aamir Khan is Known as the Mr. Perfectionist… on his Birthday

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460323504026{margin-bottom: 30px !important;padding-top: 15px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;background-color: #d8cce2 !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”337″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]For more than a year now Aamir Khan is obsessed with his role as Mahavir Singh Phoghat, the wrestler from Punjab and his two daughters who are also wrestlers. Aamir took his own time to decide about doing the role but once he took a decision, he has been going out of his way to make his role in “Dangal” one of the many memorable roles in his illustrious career.

Aamir took a step which surprised his admirers, his rivals and the few detractors he may have…[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460322946238{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]He put on weight to look the wrestler he was playing and it was certainly not an ordinary feat to put on kilos of weight till he crossed ninety kilos. It was only when he gained the weight necessary to look and fight like a wrestler that he gave his director Nitesh Tiwari the go ahead sign to start shooting for the film. To know more about the life of Mahavir Singh Phoghat, he made friends with him and tried to imbibe as many qualities and mannerisms he could from the wrestler. He also interacted with the wrestler’s family and the people living in the place he lived in. He has now completed one part of the story of the film in which he has to be the wrestler fighting some of his big fights and has performed some of the most daring scenes which other actors would have thought twice or more about before agreeing to do them, but then this was not the first time he was doing such daring scenes in a film… Aamir completed that part of the film and was in America working out to lose all the weight he had put on.

He will now only resume shooting for “Dangal” towards the end of May or early June by which time he expects to be the good old Aamir all set to play the handsome young man who will also have a heroine the quest for whom is still going on. Has anyone heard of an actor who has done so much to make his role real and thoroughly believable? It is only Aamir who can do such “mad” things to continue being the Mr. Perfectionist he is now better known than Aamir Khan. His love for perfection has been a part of his life ever since he first took to acting. I have it from the late production manager of Nasir Husain who was making his multi-starrer “Yaadon Ki Baaraat”. Aamir who  was hardly ten years old and was playing the youngest of the three sons in the film was to be seen   playing a toy guitar while the family was busy singing the song, “Yaadon ki baraat nikli hai aaj dil ke dwaare”. The young Aamir kept worrying Husain who was his uncle and all his assistants about how he was to hold the guitar and all about his movements during the song… It was just a few weeks to go before his first film as a hero was to be released and someone from Nasir Husain’s unit requested him to be the chief guest at a night cricket match. Aamir agreed and the people were thrilled. They had never seen a hero in their area which was where the International Airport now is. Aamir told the organizers that he would take part in the match and that he should be made a part of the team batting first. They had to accept his request and he played an entire innings and left only around midnight after he had given the crowd a time of their lives… He was to play a cricketer in Dev Anand’s “Awwal Number” and a match was to be shot at Brabourne Stadium where some of the greatest matches were played. He practiced his game to perfection and had the confidence to tell Dev Sahab that he was ready to shoot for the match.

It was still the beginning of his career and Dev Sahab said, “Watch this boy, he is a bright ray of hope for the future”. Who can forget that daring sequence in “Ghulam”? He is being chased by the group against him and reaches a railway track when he sees a speeding train coming towards him. He has no choice, he can avoid the train and get caught by the men after him or he has to cross the track before the train can reach him and crush him. He crosses the track just in the nick of time and the audience has its breath at a standstill. That scene was to be done by a stuntman but Aamir wanted to do it himself and he did all the work of the body and the mind to manage to do that death defying scene and he succeeded to the relief of the unit and later to the relief of people watching him doing that believe it or not scene, all in the name of perfection. He was shooting for Yash Chopra’s “Parampara” at the Mehboob Studios and was supposed to play the piano as a part of a group song. Even a director like Yash who had made some of the leading stars play the piano in his earlier films could not stop Aamir from practicing the movements of his fingers on the keys of the piano to match with the beats of the piano in the song that was already recorded. The entire unit which included stars like Sunil Dutt, Vinod Khanna, Raveena Tandon and Ramya (a star from the south) and others had to wait till Aamir was satisfied with the movements of his singers and only then could the shooting begin again. Incidentally it was one of the rare films Yash Chopra did for an outside producer (A.G.Nadiadwala) and was the first director who was paid fifty lakhs to direct  the film which was a fee not even the biggest stars were paid those days…

Aamir was the hero of Mahesh Bhatt’s “Hum Hai Raahi Pyaar Ke” in which he had more scenes with children than with the heroine (Juhi Chawla). He did not start shooting till he got friendly with all the children who were to do all the crucial scenes with him and only when he realized that they were all comfortable together that he allowed Mahesh Bhatt to start shooting the film. During a song and dance sequence with a huge crowd Aamir asked Mahesh Bhatt to go home and took over the shooting of the song and dance himself. The director of “Ghajini”, A.R.Murugadoss says he had shot with some of the leading actors of the south but had never seen any actor being so involved in the scenes, even the most daring scenes doing them with the total involvement of a hero like Aamir. Rajkumar Hirani who directed Aamir in “PK” says he could write a book on the involvement of Aamir during the making of the film. His quest for perfection could be best seen when he took on the responsibility of directing the TV show “Satyamev Jayate”. The places he traveled to, the kind of unknown places he visited with his camera and interacted with some of the most dangerous and even some of the most simple and unknown people who had never had a glimpse of civilization are things that only a man with a passion for perfection could do and did and made “Satyamev Jayate” one of the most powerful TV shows in India.

Aamir accepts very few invitations to be a chief guest or to speak at seminars and even at some important events associated with the industry, but if and when he does, he makes it a point to see that he says or does something that will leave a lasting impact. I remember it was the first MAMI Film  Festival in Mumbai and Dev Anand was to be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. I don’t know whose decision it was to ask Aamir to present the award to Dev Anand but it was a great choice. He not only did what he was requested to do but spoke about Dev Anand’s contribution and his legacy for thirty minutes and being a staunch admirer of Dev Anand, I can say that I have never heard anyone speaking about Dev Anand like Aamir spoke about him that day… Aamir is not only a perfectionist when it comes to his profession, but is a perfect family man too. He spends all the time that he is free from all his professional work with his wife Kiran Rao and their son Azaad. He also makes sure that his son and daughter from his first wife Reena Dutta are brought up in the best way possible. He has also been very helpful to his brother Faisal Khan who tried to make it as an actor but failed in spite of all the attempts Aamir made to see that he walked the right way to reach the right places. He has also gone all out to support his nephew Imran Khan, the actor who has still to make it big.

He is one of the first to come forward whenever the industry and its thousands of employees face any kind of problem and he does not show his concern for them only through words but by action which he sees is taken and their problems are solved. It is now to be seen how he takes on the challenge he has given himself to launch a drive to save water all over Maharashtra. It has come after he got into a spot of trouble over the tolerance and intolerance issue with the “Modi Sarkar”. His explanation to the statement he made about what his wife Kiran Rao had to say about intolerance was something that could silence all his critics and he is back to pursue more goals as a film man and a common man with the same perfection. Aamir’s dedication and his endless search for perfection has even made people who have worked with him try their best and attain the levels or at least somewhere near the levels of perfection he has reached and is still not satisfied with whatever he has achieved with his perfection which many are still not able to understand and keep wondering, “woh jo aadmi hai, kitna gazab ka aadmi hai”.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Padmabhushan Naseeruddin Shah: The Man Who Doesn’t Know What “No” or “Never” Mean

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1461768912226{margin-bottom: 30px !important;padding-top: 15px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;background-color: #dce8b4 !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”805″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]When I first met him on a forlorn over bridge outside Churchgate station, I never had even a faint idea that the young man walking all alone and lost in his own world would be recognized as one of the greatest actors not only in India but almost the whole world and that he would be honoured by the Government of India first with a Padmashri and then with a Padmabhushan besides the countless other awards including one he won at the Venice Film Festival. I never could imagine that he would be the leader of a movement to bring in better cinema, parallel cinema or new wave cinema and would then be disillusioned with it and join what is called mainstream or looked down upon as masala films. I never knew that he would do a rare film shot in Pakistan. I never knew that he would direct a film and be unhappy about the results and decide that he would not direct a film again and then regretting his decision and keeping his options open, I never knew that he would write his autobiography and I could never imagine that at sixty-five he would still be passionate about theatre and act in and direct some of the most meaningful plays of our time…

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460322946238{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]That evening he was like any other newcomer for me who I had seen only in his first film, “Nishant” and be impressed by his performance. I always remember that scene more than thirty-eight years ago. I had requested him to walk with me to my office and introduced him to my editor who did not know the difference between “Jaanwar” and “John War” and who called “Door Ki Awaaz” Door (meaning the door of a house) Ki Awaaz, not that I am making fun of him after so many years and especially because he was responsible for my getting the first job of my career which I kept for forty years, even thirty-eight years after he left this world… I introduced the new actor to him and he asked me if I had seen his work and when I told him I had and how good he was, my editor asked me to write about him which I did and which the actor called Naseeruddin Shah and me still remember after so much has changed in the world…

When Naseer came to Bombay after passing out of the National School Of Drama, there were a number of other young actors who came out of the FTII. It was with these enthusiastic actors that some filmmakers made films which were out of the rut and their brand of cinema and was known as new wave or parallel cinema which talking practically meant that they did not need the big stars, the big budgets, the big sets and above all the running round the trees. It was Naseeruddin Shah who in a way led this movement while he kept doing one experimental film after another, films like “Nishant”, “Aakrosh”, “Sparsh”, “Mirch Masala”, “Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Ata Hai”, “Trikal, Bhavni Bhavai”, “Junoon”, “Mandi”, “Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho”!, “Ardh Satya”, “Katha” and “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro”…

It was after years of hard work and total dedication to his calling as an actor that Naseer realized that he was only doing all the good work without gaining results in the materialistic way like the stars of the time were. He and other colleagues of his lived a hand to mouth existence living as PGs in out of the world places and at times were not even sure from where their next meal would come.

It was this extreme disparity between the stars and even star-sons that awakened and angered Naseer and he found out how the men behind the movement to make better films were making the best of life at the cost of the work put in by actors like him that he who still lived as a PG in New Light Society opposite the Sacred Heart Church and school at Santacruz and decided to revolt…

He shocked and shook the movement when he signed a film like “Tridev” in which he wore a “tirchi topi” and sang “Oye Oye” with a nymphet called Sonam. He was criticized by his admirers but he had an answer for them when he said, “only appreciation, only awards and only more and more work to keep the movement to make better films going is not the only thing. Money also matters and what wrong have actors like me done to sweat it out and be paid peanuts while the stars that do less than half the work we do live in palaces and drive around in the most plush cars. I think I have had enough of it and I am not going to let myself and my family live in misery to let art prosper”. His call for a revolt was heeded by other actors in the same league as him which gradually led to the fading out of the new wave and parallel cinema movement. Was Naseer responsible for the waning of interest and walking in the wilderness for all those who felt and believed that the movement they had started would go on and on? History will try to find an answer to this question.

Naseer however decided to do what his heart dictated and showed how strong his resolve was when he played the villain in “Mohra” and then there was no stopping him as he kept doing what was called commercial cinema with films like “Hum Paanch”, “Karma”, “Ijaazat”, “Jalwa”, “Hero Hiralal” and continued doing such films till the recently released films like “Dirty Politics” and “Tera Suroor”..

Naseer however kept his balance as an actor and did outstanding roles in Hollywood films like “The Perfect Murder”, “Monsoon Wedding”, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” and others. He also showed the courage of his convictions when he did not one but two films made in Pakistan, “Khuda Ke Liye” and “Zinda Bhaag” for which he won recognition on both sides of the border, being the first actor in both countries to receive that kind of recognition and honour.

Among some of the better commercial films he has been associated with are “Encounter”, “A Wednesday” and “The Dirty Picture”. He has now reached a stage when he can be choosy but can also do films like “Dirty Politics” only because of the need for money to live a “reasonably decent life for my family”.
Naseer has directed some of the best plays in theatre like “Waiting for Godot”, his one man shows and his recent controversial plays based on the lives of rebel writers like Ismat Chugtai and Saadat Hasan Manto besides the plays he does in English with his wife Ratna Pathak Shah, daughter Heeba and the actor Kenneth Desai.

His ambition drove him to direct his first feature film, “Yun Hota To Kya Hota” but it was not a good experience and he reacted by saying that he would never direct a film again, but now years later he believes that he should not have made that statement in a hurry which means that admirers of Naseer can still hope to see him behind the camera.

Naseer has a liking for playing characters the world knows as a part of history and he proved it when he played the Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib in a TV serial of the same name which made the poet much more popular than he already was and the play he is now doing all over, “Einstein” based on the life of the Nobel Laureate Albert Einstein. He always had the dream of playing Mahatma Gandhi, so much that he even auditioned for the role of Gandhi in Sir Richard Attenborough’s film and failed for Ben Kingley to find the prestigious part. He however got his own opportunity to play Gandhi in Kamal Haasan’s film “Hey Ram” and later in a play called “Gandhi v/s Harilal” based on the relationship between Gandhi and his elder son.

After putting in years of work which was the work of an actor and a gentleman in his own league Naseer decided to write his autobiography, “And Then One Day” which is a book everyone associated with the arts, especially theatre, films and televisions must read as a must read book.

Naseer is a happy family man with his entire family deeply involved in films, theatre and other art forms. His wife Ratna Pathak Shah is a versatile actress who acts best when she teams up with him but is good in every challenge she is offered. His daughter Heeba (from his first wife) is a formidable talent as an actor and director in theatre. His elder son, Imaduddin Shah is a musician who can also act well and his younger son Vivaan is an actor last seen in films like “Saat Khoon Maaf” and “Happy New Year” and is also a director.

The number of awards he has won are too many to be listed but it must be said to his credit that he has never let any kind of success affect him or let it affect anyone in his family.

He is one man who has erased two words from his life, no and never which are the only strong points which can never make him grow weaker as an actor or in whatever he aims to do.

At sixty-five he is still raring to go and his happiest moments are when he is performing on stage with his wife Ratna, daughter Heeba and Kenneth Desai in different parts of the world and even at private shows held by different organizations and is thrilled to perform free before an audience of students who are interested in theatre to whom he says “acting on stage is like living a part of life, you can act anywhere, you don’t have to have big sets and all the other paraphernalia, only remember that you have to be perfect with your lines which can only come with reading, reading and more reading and then not banging into any part of the furniture on stage if there is any”.

They call him “Naseer sir” now, he would have been “Sir Naseer” if he was in some other land where they have greater respect for talent, but whatever anyone calls him there can never be another Naseer.

Among the members of the Rajya Sabha who retired on March 16 was the well-known poet and Hindi film lyricist Javed Akhtar.

He will always be remembered as the MP who raised the issue of the amendment in the Copyright Act which got lyricists the right to have a share in the earnings of a film.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]