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Naseeruddin Shah in Zinda Bhaad

Naseeruddin Shah Completes Work on Park Movie Zinda Bhaad

At a time when top Pakistani actors and musicians are making a beeline for Bollywood, Indian actor Naseeruddin has quietly wrapped work for Zinda Bhaag, a Pakistani film that centers around the desperate urge of youth to find a better life abroad. Besides playing a role in the film, Shah conducted a seven –day workshop in Lahorefor young cast members who are appearing in a movie for the first time. Shah visited Pakistan’s cultural capital last month to familiarize himself with the city and to conduct the workshop.

Shah’s visits to the city were kept under wraps by the film’s producers as he wanted to work away from the gaze of the media. This is not the 61-year-old actor’s first appearance in a Pakistani movie-he played a key role in Khuda Kay Liye (2007) and that film’s director, Shoaob Mansoor, had wanted him for his next venture Bol but Shah was unavailable. "I came here a month ago for a week to practice my script and get familiar with the culture of Lahore. I came back to shoot for the film and my part wrapped up in five to six days,” Shah said before leaving for Indiarecently. Shah, who is fondly remembered in Pakistan for playing Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib in a television serial, said that he could relate to the film’s script. "Zinda Bhaag is a film based on the subject of illegal immigration. This is a big problem in Pakistan and India because overpopulation and lack of opportunities makes people desperate to flee to supposedly greener pastures,” said the actor. "There are people in this business who lure unemployed youth with false promise of money and luxury and send them abroad illegally. The subject of the film is very good and it deals with different issues that stem from this crime.” Shah plays an agent involved in this racket. "This is a film which is tailor-made for the Pakistani audience. It deals with the problems present in their society,” he said. Zinda Bhaag has a mix of Punjabi and Urdu but Shah said that part of his preparations during his visit to Pakistani last month were "to get a feel of the language before I start speaking it.”

Shah refused to drawn out on the issue of whether Zinda Bhaag would be a commercial movie or an art film, saying there were only "good and bad” movies. He said that Pakistani filmmakers were on the road to progress and he was extremely hopeful about the future of Bollywood. "I am hopeful that’s why I am here. In India, many filmmakers make films to earn money but every once in a while when I am approached by young filmmakers who dream big, I help them in whatever way I can, he said.

Zinda Bhaag is being co directed by Meenu Gaur, who is an Indian, and Farjad Nabi and produced by Mazhar Zaidi. The directors are also responsible for the script. The shooting is likely to be completed in two more weeks and the film is expected to be released next year.

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