An interview with Naseeruddin Shah is expected to be fascinating. More so since the legendary actor is known to call a spade a spade. For someone who didn’t spare even himself in the memoir ‘And Then One Day’, it is pretty much a given that he won’t quote diplomacy when it comes to films, both starring him as well as others. No wonder, I was pretty much prepared to hear something exciting when it came to interviewing him for his upcoming release Charlie Ke Chakkar Mein, a dark dramatic affair.

Was it the very title that intrigued you into knowing more about what Charlie Kay Chakkar Mein had to offer?

The project itself intrigued me. I was greatly touched by the idea of a group of youngsters trying to make a thriller under extremely tough conditions and with a starvation budget.

Mumbai: Actor Naseeruddin Shah during the trailer launch of film Charlie Ke Chakkar Mein, in Mumbai, on Sep. 25, 2015. (Photo: IANS)

Mumbai: Actor Naseeruddin Shah during the trailer launch of film Charlie Ke Chakkar Mein, in Mumbai, on Sep. 25, 2015. (Photo: IANS)

The film deals with the world of narcotics. By its very setting, the narrative is expected to be dark and disturbing, isn’t it?

Narrative is dark and disturbing but don’t we have enough candy-floss going around? And that world itself is dark and disturbing.

Looking at the promo, it is quite apparent that the film has followed a holds-no-bar approach when it comes to detailing the drug menace in the country?

I don’t think the film is moralising about the drug menace in the country. It’s a story of how people behave under the influence and the audience is left to draw their own conclusions.

Meanwhile, the core of the film stays on to be a murder mystery, with ‘found footage’ driving the narrative, right?


For you as an actor, was it a new kind of a stage and setting to be playing an investigating cop with such kind of narrative?

I have played a cop many times. What was new here was the amount of dialogue I was asked to deliver in two days! It felt more like doing a play in two days than a film.

charlie ke chakkar mein

The promo also pretty much indicates that you have taken a realistic route in enacting the part of a cop, and there isn’t any quintessential filmy element whatsoever?

Realistic, because I have short hair like a cop? The actors’ performances must in every case be governed by the style of the film. It does not have any quintessentially Hindi “filmi” element in it but the director is obviously influenced by quirky film makers like Tarantino and Christopher Nolan.

As an actor, considering the fact that you have played a cop countless number of times, how do you really prep yourself to try out something interesting in a film like Charlie Kay Chakkar Mein?

“Trying out something new” is what I do on the stage; film is too expensive a medium to try anything in. You must conform to the nature of the project and if you can’t, you shouldn’t be in it.

The film has been done by Manish Shrivastava who certainly seems to have styled the film quite differently from other mystery dramas. As an experienced actor, how did you find his direction approach?

Very clear headed, extremely organised and very much on the ball, he has the right ideas about film making and I certainly think he will grow considerably after this experience.

When you signed the film though, were you aware that he had debuted around a decade back with a Ram Gopal Varma production “Go”, which had failed commercially? Did that play in your mind?

Never heard of ‘Go’ but it would have made no difference.

A few weeks back, you delivered a Hit in Welcome Back, where you indeed let your hair down. How is it to be fluctuating between an Anees Bazmee world to something like Charlie Kay Chakkar Mein?

Well, refer to what I just answered a little while back when I said – ‘you must conform to the nature of the project and if you can’t, you shouldn’t be in it.’

While you did have a flurry of releases in the recent past with Dharam Sankat Mein and Finding Fanny being your last few releases, it appears that you have slowed down in signing new films, right?

I have been busy repairing an injured back and shooting a cricket show on TV – “Mid-Wicket Tales”, and traveling with my play “Einstein”. I am committed to do two films early next year.

On Sets: Finding Fanny

With 200 films behind you, does it make you a tad impatient to grab a new story which actually makes you do something really unique that you haven’t tried before?

The thought that I enjoy being part of this project is what draws me to anything.

Meanwhile, one looks forward to your new book after a very successful memoir. Is there something in the pipeline?

The pipeline runs from Siberia all the way to New Zealand!