Karachi Literature Festival is one of the most celebrated events in Karachi where bookworms and celebrities gather to discuss their love for literature.
Every year, KLF is held in Karachi and there are high chances of seeing Bollywood veteran actors and writers be part of this amazing event.
This year’s Karachi Literature Festival was also great with the appearance of Bilal Maqsood that cherished the event with his words. But those who attended the last day of KLF made everyone shocked by the surprising appearance and raised the bar of the event.
Talking about none other than Bollywood’s famous and veteran actor who loves to speak about literature and especially Urdu. Naseeruddin Shah made a big appearance and joined the event via live session.
No one believed, that it was true and they are witnessing Naseeruddin Shah talking about literature and his personal stories.
Naseeruddin Shah live at Karachi Literature Festival
Naseeruddin Shah is one of the prominent figures whenever it comes to literature, he shared his personal stories, his acting inspirations and revealed some detailed insights.
While talking to the people, he revealed that in his earlier time, his wife and actor Ratna Pathak was jealous of him for getting so many offers. Because like him, she too, wasn’t “masala film material.”
While sharing his journey from mainstream to the parallel cinema, he even talked about why he chose to do commercial films even though knowing he doesn’t like it at all.
He also pointed out his iconic role as Mirza Ghalib in his ultra-creative mesmerizing journey and love for the literature festivals.
The host Shahzad Sharjeel on the first go told him that people immediately imagine his face whenever they hear any ghazal or read Ghalib. Because in 1998, Naseeruddin Shah played one of his unforgettable roles Mirza Ghalib where he portrayed the life of the great poet.
He explained his connection with the poet. “My phuppi and phuppa resided in the same street as Ghalib’s. We spent our days at our phuppa’s house. And on our way there, we’d always see this beautiful haveli that was in shambles and everyone would tell us that a ‘poet named Mirza Ghalib used to live here.”
When talking about his film, he revealed that his sons Imaad, Vivaan, and daughter Hiba are also part of the entertainment business as well.
“Imaad was good at cricket but one day instead of bringing a bat in his hand, he brought a guitar. He writes songs with feelings and also acts. He is in a band with Saba Azad now, who sings. My younger son Vivaan also acts,” he shared.
‘Ratna felt ignored’ – Naseeruddin Shah
Ratna who is his beautiful wife is nowadays a very busy woman but earlier she considered herself a failure. On this, Shah Saheb put some light “There was a time when I had all these producers coming to our house to sign me and her [Ratna] felt ignored,” he revealed.
I would tell her that your time will come but she would reply ‘Easy for you to say, you have all these people who visit to sign you and I’m just making tea for them.
None of them want to cast me.’ While that was no fault of mine, I also knew in my heart that like me, Ratna, and after her. My daughter Hiba, was not meant for commercial films. But while they might not be leading stars in a masala hit, because they are actors who can deliver, people will eventually recognize their worth.”
Shah Saheb then continued and shared that he doesn’t consider himself a commercial actor. He had to do it for some time, to be recognized as a hero.
“I worked in commercial cinema despite not having the looks of a hero. I never fit in either but I suppose it was my mother’s prayers that got me here.
I’ve done a lot of underwhelming films. But it was always actors like Anthony Quinn that kept me going. They weren’t great looking either but they kept getting work because of their capability to deliver.”
‘Lucky people don’t remember films I am embarrassed by’ – Naseeruddin Shah
Naseeruddin Shah went on being lucky that fans don’t remember films he’s embarrassed about having done. “I know people remember me for Mirza Ghalib and Masoom (1983) but what people don’t remember is that I’ve also done films like Sunayana (1979), it was my third film, I even sang in it and did some failed acting. Shaayad (1979), Kanhaiyaa (1981), Khwab (1980), I’ve done several such films that thankfully no one recalls.”
There are very few actors who have grown up watching Hollywood cinema, Naseeruddin Shah is among those and that’s the reason his craft is majorly inspired by that world. He shared, “My father was a deputy collector and we were allowed to go into any cinema hall and watch films.
He would let us watch all English films and Indian films if they were Dilip Kumar’s. He never came along. I would end up comparing Uran Khatola to The Wizard of Oz, a film like Azaad to The Prisoner of Zenda. I could see the problems with Hindi films from back then.
But I also knew that if I wanted to be an actor, I’ll have to work with similar problems. In the early 70s, Hindi cinema had also started churning out serious films and I made a mission to find a way to work in them.”
There are lot films serious films Shah did and he also witnessed that not many people would love to watch them. He even wanted to do leading roles as well.
Dedh Ishqiya star said, “Any actor who says he doesn’t want to be a hero is lying. Every actor wants to be the hero. Every human wants to be a hero.
I was no exception. So, when I started getting offers, I took them without even preparing myself for them.”
‘Hyderabad’s cuisine is better than Lucknow’s’ – Naseeruddin Shah
When the host asked him about his favorite cuisine and choose between Lucknow and Delhi. Shah said, “I think Hyderabad’s cuisine is better than Lucknow’s.
People forget Hyderabad when talking about Muslim culture in India. It is such a clean place with so much kindness. Lucknow has passion and Delhi has potential but Hyderabad has civilized people and good biryani.”
He added, “However, I am from Meerut, my father spent a few years in Lucknow but I don’t have many memories there. My connection with Lucknow has to do more with the films I’ve had to shoot in the city. Umrao Jaan (1981) was shot in Lucknow.
These days, it’s become more like a film studio. It does have rich food too, albeit, for me, Hyderabadi cuisine is the best – with no disrespect to anyone hailing from Lucknow, of course.”
Naseeruddin Shah is the only Muslim actor in Bollywood who has always taken the side of Pakistan and raised his voice against genocide against Muslims. There are various situations where he supported Pakistan, in 2016 he claimed that Indians are being brainwashed to believe Pakistan is the enemy country.
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