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Naseeruddin Shah: “Experienced and excellent actors have trouble laughing.”

Naseeruddin Shah  has rediscovered  his  funnybone  in  the  forthcoming  webseries  Kaun Banegi Shikharwati .

 In an interview with me   he admits he is tired of  playing serious roles. “I got typecast as a serious actor too damn early in my career and have struggled to shake off that mantle, it was too heavy to lug around but despite my efforts I never got the chance to perform in as many comedies as I would have liked to.But maybe that was also a disguised blessing considering the kind of comedies we make in Mumbai.”

We haven’t  seen  too much of  Naseer’s   impeccable  comic  timing  since Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron. The maestro  of  the performing arts  feels comedy is  a serious  business.  “Comedy is way more difficult that than the serious stuff, in  fact I always tell my students that the easiest thing an actor is asked to do is to cry –and all actors LOVE to cry!–but even some experienced and excellent actors have trouble laughing .Watch Sanjeev Kumar  in Shatranj Ke Khiladi ,for example.”

 Many actors, feels Naseer,don’t understand the mechanics of laughter.  “What happens to the breath and so on when one laughs. Crying is easy because the actor can just recall a past incident,however disconnected the context may be, and the tears begin to flow. Serious actors are held in higher regard because they are.. well.. serious! Mehmood sahab in my opinion was one of the most gifted actors Hindi cinema has ever had yet he is remembered only as a comedian.”

Naseer  has some lovely  ladies  for company in Kaun Banegi  Shikharwati. “Lara  Dutta is a delightful surprise since I’d never seen her work but she has a WOW personality and of course she’s a gorgeous looker and wonderful actor. Soha Ali Khan  has an innate sweetness which I suspect masks a fiery temper-though I didn’t see any evidence of it! Kritika Kamra, of the sunny smile has something in her eyes which makes you look at her twice, she’s terrifically confident and I think she could play an introvert as well as she has done this part. And Anya Singh radiates a kind of mystery and innocence, though I hope she doesn’t begin to take herself too seriously and milk these qualities.  What she needs as a breakout role is of a foul mouthed woman of the streets!”

    Naseer  Saab who has worked  in most of his best works  with Shabana  Azmi, is all  praise  for  his new co-stars, “All these girls were wonderful and affectionate and caring and sincere about their work and I’d happily work with any or all of them again.”

  Naseer   has lavish  praise for his colleague  who co-stars with him in Shikharwati.  “Raghuvir Yadav ,I have been a fan of forty years now ever since I saw him on stage in Delhi and couldn’t recognise him the next time I saw him. His performance in Massey Sahab, I consider one of the finest in Hindi cinema.”

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