'There's no yardstick to judge acting'

'There's no yardstick to judge acting'

Veteran actor

'There's no yardstick to judge acting'

Naseeruddin Shah is a man who needs no introduction. The list of films in which he has acted can go on endlessly. 

He seems apt for whatever role he plays, be it as photographer Vinod Chopra in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron or the bold Suryakanth in ‘The Dirty Picture’. 

Metrolife caught up with the veteran actor when he was in the City to perform a play.“I’ve never felt that I know it all, though I have been accused of having that attitude. I learnt very early that acting is a business I’ve to spend my lifetime learning about. I’m just going about doing that,” shares Naseeruddin, divulging the secret of his trade.
 Be it acting on stage or in front of a camera, the basic approach he has taken has remained constant. “I’ve always believed that there can be nothing such as perfection in acting.

 It’s possible in sculpture, arts, music or writing, but not in theatre. There is no yardstick to judge acting. If you connect to the performance, it’s a good performance for you. If you don’t, it’s not,” he describes, simplifying the notion of acting.

For seasoned actors like him, an art form like acting seems to come naturally. But as he calls it, there is “sheer undiluted joy at having the opportunity to do this work.”
 When asked how he keeps the passion going, he answers, “What helped me was a statement by Peter Brook, who was asked how an actor can keep his performance organic night after night.

 This was in reference to the West where they perform every night, sometimes twice a day. Brook’s answer was that you have to play the role with the knowledge that this is as much as I know about the person today.

I found that rather profound and it opened a lot of windows for me.” Naseeruddin is presently working on Solomon Ahishor’s film, ‘John Day’ which also stars Randeep Hooda. He recently completed working Zinda Bhaag, a Pakistani film in Punjabi by Minoo Gauhar and Mazhar Zaidi. “I wanted to go back to Pakistan and work.

 Here were two young film-makers with hardly any money but who really wanted to make it. I was very touched by their effort,” says Naseeruddin, who plays an agent helping young, unemployed men to illegally migrate to Canada and Dubai in the film. “It’s a delicious role! I love playing such twisted characters. It’s much more fun than playing the good guy,” says the excited actor.

When it comes to theatre in the country, he expects an explosion of acting talent within the next decade. 

“I’ve seen immense talent in theatre in Marathi, Gujarati and Hindi. This nonsense of acting by semaphore has gone on long enough. I think there will be a big change in the quality of acting, which I have to admit, is utterly pathetic in our country,” he says.

 “I have faith in the younger generation, who don’t fear the camera as we did. They’re photographed from the moment they’re born!” concludes the 62-year-old.