Naseeruddin Shah (Photo Credit: File Photo)
Naseeruddin Shah is back with a short film, one that the veteran actor believes is of hope at a time when vast majority of people are in the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Titled "Half Full", the film is directed by debutante filmmaker Karan Rawal and also features Vikrant Massey.
The story is about a man on the verge of taking a crucial decision when he meets an older person. The meeting alters his perspective towards life, death and self. Shah said it is a strange case of happenstance that the core idea of the film has become relevant to the current times.
"When the film was made, we were hardly in this kind of situation. The situation has become relevant to the movie, I would say. I'm sure that a lot of people today will find identification with that young protagonist of the movie... This is a hopeful film and might help people cope with this time when loneliness is all around us," Shah told PTI in a telephonic interview from Mumbai.
The actor said that short films are ideal for budding actors and directors to begin their journey in cinema. "I think these short films that are being made for the web are very healthy because the youngsters are getting a chance to try out their craft without sticking their necks out, without having the risk of losing lakhs or crores of rupees and without endangering their careers or worrying about box office collections.
"They are free to make the kind of film that they believe should be made. And that's why I feel obliged to be a part of them," he added. "Half Full" is part of nine shorts that will be screened on ZEE5 during the streamer's upcoming 'Short Film Festival'. It will premiere on April 15. The 69-year-old actor has featured in quite a number of short films recently.
He has previously been a part of shorts like "Interior Cafe Night", "Rogan Josh" and "The Wallet", among others. Shah said such films require less time to make and that is why he prefers them. "This is very painless and brief. I don't think I'd be able to take 45-60 days of shooting anymore. I have done several of those in my time but I don't think I'd be able to do that anymore. So, the shorter the work span, the happier I am.
"In the span of two days or in this case, just one night, you can make a complete film, which will communicate itself, which will be entertaining, and which people will remember. That is the satisfaction one gets from shorts." There is also the joy of working with new and emerging talent, he said.
"I got to work with a young filmmaker who's enthusiastic and who is trying his best to make something which he believes in. I basically enjoy the work of acting, whether it is in films, on stage, in front of a TV camera, or it is in the storytelling. I thoroughly enjoy my work and this was another chance for me to play a part I found to be very enjoyable, and a script which was very meaningful," Shah added. Regarded as one of the best performers in Hindi cinema, Shah has delivered many critically-acclaimed performances in movies such as his debut "Nishant", "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron", "Mandi", "Sparsh", "Umrao Jaan", "Woh Saat Din", "Sarfarosh", "A Wednesday" and many others. But today, his endeavour is to train newcomers in acting and make them realise their potentials.
"The next stage of evolution for me is to find a technique of training actors. I have been involved in this for the past 20 years. I hate to call it teaching as I believe it is pretentious. I call it working with young actors and helping them find their potential. That is something which is a bit of a mission for me at the moment. "Over the last several years, I've been finding this much more enjoyable than acting. It is much more rewarding to get an actor to live up to his potential than it is to do it ourselves. So that, if anything, is everything I have left," Shah said.