Naseeruddin shah’s ( The Actor’s) book and ( little) me

12 Dec

” As Grotowski had said in another lifetime, ‘ there is no such thing as talent, and lack of talent occurs when one is not in one’s right place. Finding my ‘spot’ has taken me well- nigh forty years but I think I have spent at least some of that time in the right place.”

―Naseeruddin shah ( And Then One Day, A Memoir)

Iam no acting student. I am not into theatre. I am an audience. I read, watch and reflect. I like learning. I like Naseeruddin shah. I have mentioned in a earlier post, was  twelve years old when saw Goutam Ghose ‘s ” Paar” and decided that had  seen a great performance and  great actors. The actors were Naseeruddin shah and Shabana Azmi. Finest actors of my generation. The actor’s book has been a wonderful read, riveting and damn funny. In a way it reminded me of Upamanyu Chatterjee “English August.”

The only exposure to Theatre was had gone to meet a young lady who was directing English plays, she told me and brother in law” You guys are  handsome and you should interact with audience.” That was the end. I was conceited and too old for that stuff. I do remember though she asked for a hug before I left. Guess  brother in law has ambitions in dramatics. I have none.

I loved the great actor’s book for its searing honesty and deeply humbling  dedication to one’s craft. It is this continous learning and examination of the craft that has inspired me. The mechanics of acting and schools of acting may not serve me but am a student of examination and life. ” Unexamined life is not worth living.” ( Socrates.)

The actor’s passion and identification of  calling, immense scholarship, training in two great schools, continous learning under a master and finally being the undisputed master himself. It’s a brilliant journey. Talent screams loud in every word. It’s hilarious too. One has always loved the dark sardonic Humour. I think it’s must read for anyone remotely connected with dramatics for ” Deconstruction of mechanics of  craft “. As for me it was such invigorating pleasure reading the book. Like all good books make you think, there are parallels for me too. So it goes..

” In the two or so jaw- clenching hours we spent together and during which I kept hallucinating looking at the curtains in the room, she didn’t once enquire about the film I had just done, or about the institute but explained at great length that she now wanted to marry and raise a family. I was in no position, she reiterated, to give her the life she desired and she couldn’t wait for things to improve for me. I agreed that I had no idea how long that might take.She was approaching thirties, was concerned she would soon be past childbearing age, and was very keen on having children. She confirmed my suspicion that she had in fact met someone else with whom she reckoned it could go distance.” (  And then one day, a memoir, Naseeruddin Shah)

I stumbled on a old passport and stumbled on two photographs. I was struck by the empty passport and picture of two most important people in my life . My father and let’s just say ” A”. My great teachers and only people who were invested in me in my twenties. Love of my lives when young.  The above incident is almost like a replay of my life ” A ” gave me reason for getting engaged and saying she is getting married because she is getting older and for no other reason. she was only in her twenties. I was the same, some years younger. I was devastated. I remember going back hiding tears to the railway station, so broken and blank that fell asleep on a family’s luggage spread on the platform. Nobody woke me up. I missed the train. When woke up ” a good family on whose luggage fell asleep ” looked at me kindly and offered food saying ” you look from a good family….”. The year was 1997. I  have never met ” A”. I never talk about women. I never do. ” A ” was everything , learnt everything, to study, to work hard, me was just intellectually boorish and conceited before met her, she was school and family, scolded me and bought me ice creams and gave me great advise. ” Ofcourse she married someone else. Many people have asked me ” Why am not married..” I just could not overcome sadness. This is the true reason. Ofcourse had other things to worry, my father’s illness, my brother, my sister, my mother, my worrisome career..

I often wondered how would it be, if my father and she was there, it was not to be..

So the above extract took me to 1997, me was twenty five years old…

There are other passages to “Jaspal”, which have experienced in life, which do not wish to enumerate. It’s too painful and reminder of life is not same for everyone.

I also realised ” How conceited my whole intellectual being was when young”.

There are many parallels for me from the book, except of course the impending greatness..

I have learnt from the the great actor’s journey ” There is such a thing as one’s craft and how important it is to master it.”

I guess my jobs come from company  managements, me must embrace those as a ” craft and master it “. I learnt everything is a consecrated act. The structured way. I will study. The other indulgence is blogging . Till then..

I did meet ” someone as important” last year, only wish could speak again…

I don’t know what future holds for me. Till then the masters book will serve a great joy and inspiration. Hopefully will find my other half, better half, now only if you could call me..:)

I cannot resist sharing this..

The only diverting moment came when  Mr. Nag, greatly hassled and in need of the dialogue sheet, was yelling at his asistant to ” Breeng the shit! Phor habben sak breeng the shit so I ken bhwark in piss!!” ( And Then One Day, A memor, Naseeruddin Shah)

Goodnight friends.  Hope you have a lovely day!

Thank you.


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