In Amazon Prime Video’s beautifully-charted anthology Modern Love , Vishal Bhardwaj’s fabulously feisty film Bombay Dragons features Naseeruddin Shah as an endearing Sardarji named Pappi Singh.
Who on earth but Vishal Bharadwaj would think of casting Naseer as a turbanator?
Says Naseer, “I haven’t yet seen the film. But I have a weak spot for the Sardar community and I always wanted to play one. I had a fun time playing Pappi because I also love the Punjabi accent.”
Naseer has worked earlier with Vishal Bhardwaj in Maqbool and Saat Khoon Maaf. He finds the filmmaker has evolved over the years in Bombay Dragon. “Vishal is certainly more assured in handling actors than he was before. I enjoy his company, he’s a straightforward person and I’m deeply grateful for all the help Vishal Bharadwaj and his wife (singer) Rekha have given me in staging my plays. I’d do anything for him ,though I must admit I haven’t liked all his films.”
Mumbai Dragon makes a very strong statement on the segregation of the North-East. Naseer who has always been vocal on the subject of cultural persecution says, “We seem to be living in times where we love inventing new enemies. Sadly this is the age of hate.”
Interestingly Naseer’s talented elder son Imaad Shah also has a cameo in Mumbai Dragon, though sadly father and son do not have any shared moments on screen.
Imaad deserves a lot more than he has got so far.
Says Naseer, “Imaad is perfectly happy doing his music and the occasional role he’s offered. Everyone gets their due if they persevere long enough.”