Naseeruddin Shah makes surprise virtual appearance at Karachi Literature Festival

Naseeruddin Shah spoke about his acting journey during a session at Karachi Literature Festival 2022

Naseeruddin Shah treated fans to a virtual appearance at the Karachi Literature Festival, where he discussed his transition from commercial to parallel cinema, his inspirations and his connection with Mirza Ghalib.

Shedding light on how he started out as a commercial actor despite being different, he said, “I worked in commercial cinema even though I didn’t look like a hero. I never fit in either, but I guess it was my mother’s prayers that brought me here.

“I’ve done a lot of disappointing films. But it was always actors like Anthony Quinn who kept me going. They weren’t great looking either, but they kept working because of their ability to deliver,” the 71-year-old actor described.

Talking about his inspirations, Shah revealed that his craft is influenced by the Hollywood movies he was lucky enough to watch “unsupervised” as a child.

“I would end up comparing Uran Khatola for The Wizard of Oza movie like Azaad for Zenda’s Prisoner. I could clearly see the problems with Hindi films of the time,” Shah recalls.

“But I also knew that if I wanted to be an actor, I would have to work with similar issues. By the early 70s, Hindi cinema had also started producing serious films and I made it my mission to find a way to work there.

Host, Shahzaad Sharjeel spoke to the actor about his film’s popularity Mirza Ghalib in Pakistan, to which he replied that his paternal aunt and uncle had the house on the same street where Ghalib lived.

He went on to say, “We would always see this beautiful haveli it was in ruins and everyone told us that ‘a poet named Mirza Ghalib had lived here’.

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