Cinema can’t change society: Naseerudin


By his own admission, actor Naseeruddin Shah has stopped regarding Bollywood movies as a continuing career option. “I have stopped thinking about these films,” he says. That is pretty obvious in the handful of acting assignments that he chooses to accept these days. At the 36th International Film Festival of India, Naseer has a couple of entries — Nagesh Kukunoor’s Iqbal, which is competing for a Golden Peacock, and Rahul Dholakia’s Parzania, which premiered on November 26. “Nothing can change the mainstream Mumbai movie industry. It is too entrenched in its habits. It is only interested in making a lot of money for a lot of people. Of course, we don’t need to kill it, but this is not the kind of cinema that I am interested in doing anymore,” he says.

In fact, Naseer does not see the medium of cinema as we know and use it today to be an agent of social change. “I have always had doubts about cinema as an art, as a means of social change,” he argues. “Cinema can at best be a record of its time. It is the only medium that has that power because it is a synthesis of various art forms.” That is precisely why he opted to do a film like Parzania. “It gives us a picture of the times without pointing fingers at anybody. It is not targeted against any community. It is a portrait of a family that suffered as a result of the Gujarat riots. It is a healthy effort and people who think it is one-sided are entitled to their views,” says Naseer.

Is his disillusionment with Bollywood the principal reason why he is directing his own film, Yun Hota To Kya Hota?

“No, I am not trying to prove anything to anybody,” he says. “I am making the film because I have a good story. The film has no profound vision. I am only a storyteller... But I know people are waiting with their claws unsheathed to tear me apart if I slip up. But I am not worried. I can defend myself,” he says the actor-turned-director.