‘Let’s hope that in India we can find a way to subvert’


But I never flaunted it nor have I found that it has ever come in my way. In the recent Marathi movie, Nude, you play a painter, modelled on MF Husain. I was never turned down because I was a Muslim. The contribution of Muslims to the film industry has been immense. Shabana Azmi was in it too. Ravi Jadhav (director of Nude), by making the character barefoot, has made it clear that it is Husain. So saffronisation will be mild for the industry. It could have been any kind of artist, writer or poet. What does an artist, wishing to make a political statement, do today? We will ban them to make a nationalist statement but we will take advantage of them when we can. Hindi cinema has only one religion and that’s money. I asked Madhuri Dixit, who was playing the main part, if she could explain the film to me. I play a grandfather, who is attached to a big old photocopy machine. I was turned down because I was not right for the part. Yet, at the
same time, this display of your identity has become more and more common.That’s very frightening. Your character in Nude makes a strong statement about freedom of expression. Whatever is the best way of making money, they would go for that irrespective of the person’s faith. It’s a sweet little movie about how everything has its time. I could not understand anything when he narrated the film to me. You found banning of Pakistani artists in Hindi cinema hypocritical. Watch your step; watch what you write; watch what you paint. He was not a practising or a devout Muslim. This hypocrisy makes me angry. I wish we had taken a photograph of that, a historic moment. The movie did not have a story, but he created superb images and captured them with the help of cinematographer Ashok Mehta. Do you think the film industry is more inclusive, considering that we have three Khans on top for decades now? The protests against Husain, one wonders, how much it had to do with the fact that he was a Muslim. Obviously, the protests were either politically motivated or triggered by the passion that was being ignited at that time. I played Leonardo da Vinci in Husain saab’s movie, Gaja Gamini (2000). Then it became, watch what you eat. Your character makes a strong statement with the dialogue: “When I painted horses no one said anything. She said, ‘Don’t ask me’. Soon, it will be watch what you wear. Everything has to be oblique — I suppose that’s the way to get away with it. Tell us about your association with him. 2018-05-10T00:05:45+05:30″>
Updated: May 10, 2018 12:05:45 am

In Hope Aur Hum, Naseeruddin plays a grandfather, who is attached to his old photocopy machine (Vasant Prabhu)
You will be seen as a grandfather in this week’s release, Hope Aur Hum. Look at cricketers like Hashim Amla and Moeen Ali, who play for South Africa and England respectively, who have a beard. He pulled out a measuring tape from his pocket, and asked Ratna (Pathak Shah) to write down the details. If we have reached that stage, the protests have to be little oblique, I suppose. We were all there for his sake. When I painted pigeons no one said anything.”
Humans are the only ones who are the custodians of other people’s morals. Initially, I thought why do they have to make this kind of a statement but that’s their belief, unlike mine. Somewhere, obliquely, this film is about freedom of artists. That passion has caught fire now. And he will work with them again when the time is right. There has been no retaliatory move by Pakistanis; they still welcome India artists there. You’ve said you’ve never experienced marginalisation for being a Muslim. I always enjoy working with them. The funniest meeting was when he came home to take my measurements. I found the story charming — it’s the transition of generations. Banning of Pakistani artists is a convenient thing. The whole thing about marginalisation — if it’s happening though I have never experienced it — is that it’s the marginalisation of anything subversive, whatever is subversive according to them. For all the latest Entertainment News, download Indian Express App However, you can’t deny that the film industry has talked about progressive ideas. There are children in the main roles. As part of rewriting history, you might obliterate Rafi or K Asif or AR Kardar. I have never felt the need to do that. I love old things too. Ravi wanted to widen the scope of this comment. Not only do we have the three Khans, there have been Dilip Kumar and Mohammad Rafi before this, and actors, poets, writers and music composers. The old man wants to repair it while the son wants to buy a new one. I’m a UPwallah (from Uttar Pradesh) and I’m born in a Muslim family. But I decided to go along. The way RK Laxman was during the Emergency, when he produced a cartoon every single day. While shooting for it, I realised he had so many images in his head, which he wanted to make tangible. If you wear a marker of your identity, it should be respected. Let’s hope that in India we can find a way to subvert. It’s just that a big producer threatens to sack a Pakistani artist and makes a sweeping statement, that he will never work with Pakistani artists, when he has worked with them several times.