India Insight

And Then One Day: Naseeruddin Shah on his memoirs and life

It’s difficult to hold back your surprise when Naseeruddin Shah, one of India’s foremost art house actors, says the film industry doesn’t interest him greatly. In a career spanning almost four decades, Shah has worked with Dadasaheb Phalke Award-winning director Shyam Benegal and James Bond actor Sean Connery, won acclaim for his movie roles and continues to dabble in theatre.

But Shah wasn’t exactly a child prodigy. His grades were the poorest in class and his teachers thought he would “find it difficult to amount even to a small bag of beans,” he writes in his memoir “And Then One Day.”

It took him a long time to grow out of the conviction that he was a “complete idiot,” Shah told me when I met him at The Oberoi, a hotel in central Delhi.

Shah, born in 1949 or 1950 (he isn’t sure) in a small town near Lucknow, began writing “And Then One Day” because he “had nothing else to do” and continued as he found he enjoyed it though he is “still frightened of the computer.” He discussed his autobiography and his life in an interview with India Insight.

Edited excerpts from the interview.

Q: Why did you choose to call your memoir “And Then One Day”?
A: It’s just a “kahani kehne ka jo andaaz hota hai na, ek tha raja ek thi raani” (“It’s just a way of telling a story, there once was a king and a queen”) kind of thing — “once upon a time”. It’s that kind of a phrase which I thought is quite suitable in my case. Because it’s an intriguing title also. Because it might give you the feeling that one day everything suddenly changed “jab ki aisa kuch hua nahi tha kuch meri zindagi mein” (“while nothing like that happened in my life”). So I quoted that verse from that song which I love which is about a person who has wasted a lot of his life. At one stage, I felt that I have done that or at least I got very delayed in starting off my education.

Vijender Singh enters the Bollywood ring with ‘Fugly’

Vijender Singh, the pin-up boy of Indian boxing, made his Bollywood debut on Friday, starring in a thriller about four youngsters who get into trouble with the police.

Singh, whose middleweight bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics helped raise the sport’s profile in India, is training for next month’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games at a boxing camp in Patiala and was yet to watch “Fugly”, a film produced by Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, when we interviewed him.

Singh, a strapping 28-year-old with boyish looks, told India Insight in a phone interview that he was up for new challenges and making a movie was just one of them. Excerpts from the interview:

from Photographers' Blog:

Bollywood dreams

Mumbai, India

By Danish Siddiqui

The Hindi film industry or Bollywood can make a star, a household name out of anyone overnight. It can bring instant money, fame and the fan-following of millions from across continents.

Bollywood is an addiction for many that attracts thousands of aspirants to the breeding grounds, the city of Mumbai, everyday. I was keen to look at this other side of the glamour world. The side that entails the struggle to enter the world of aspiring dreamers and their struggles to become a star.

There is no time limit to becoming a nationwide sensation, a star in Bollywood. As one of the aspirants told me it's a gamble you take, forgetting all your worries about the results.

INTERVIEW – Supreme Court lawyer on Khushboo case

Pinky Anand, counsel for actress Khushboo in the Supreme Court, spoke to Reuters about the case and how the verdict would have a far-reaching impact.

Superstar Chiranjeevi turns politician. Finally.

The Telugu actor launched his Praja Rajyam (People’s Rule) party this week, the latest in a long line of bigwigs from the acting fraternity in south India to nurse political ambitions.

Actor ChiranjeeviChiranjeevi, 53, is in good company. M.G. Ramachandran, N.T. Rama Rao, J. Jayalalithaa and M. Karunanidhi had all successfully made the leap from silver screen to political stage.

And with assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh looming in 2009, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Chiranjeevi seated on the chief minister’s chair.

He’s surely got mass appeal. Local television broadcast footage of tens of thousands of supporters hailing the actor at his party’s launch in the temple town of Tirupati.