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The outside view

Who says that a filmi lineage is all that it takes to get the ‘big break’ in Bollywood? Imaad Shah,the music composer of 404,who also plays an erratic genius in the film,begs to differ.

Written by Anita Aikara |
May 6, 2011 3:40:33 pm

Who says that a filmi lineage is all that it takes to get the ‘big break’ in Bollywood? Imaad Shah,the music composer of 404,who also plays an erratic genius in the film,begs to differ.

At first glance,Imaad Shah does not seem to be the kind of person who craves attention. He seems aloof and is indifferent to his surroundings. It’s only when you start talking to him do you realise that the actor is not unfriendly,he’s just involved doing so many activities,that there is no time for any kind of small-talk around him.

You are three films old. How has the journey been so far?

I still feel like an outsider in the industry as I have no godfather here. Yes,I belong to a film family,but we don’t live like other B-town families; culturally and socially. My grandmother (Dina Pathak) was dedicated to acting. My dad (Naseeruddin Shah) came from a small town and made it this far from scratch. I got a boost initially but later on,I had to carve a niche for myself. I am interested in doing good work but I do not want to join any of the camps in Bollywood. I do not believe in the age-old concept of pumping in crores on one star. Those things don’t work anymore.

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In Dil Dosti Etc,you played a student who is in the pursuit of self-realisation. Do you play a similar role in your forthcoming film 404?

In Little Zizou too,I played a college student. I guess it’s my college boy looks that help me bag such roles. In 404,I play Chris,a medical college student who is a genius. There is a lot of psychological stuff in the film that’s pretty engaging. Chris is envied by all as he is the college topper,but he is also the one who tries dark psychological tricks on his juniors.

Do you enjoy doing such roles?

Yes,I do. The kind of character I played in Little Zizou,Dil,Dosti Etc and 404 have all been in my comfort zone. I did the roles effortlessly. The audience responded well to my previous two films and I am hoping that they do so with 404 too.

You have doubled up as a music composer in 404. How did you get involved as a composer with the project?

When we (the cast of 404) were shooting at Dehradhun,we used to have jam sessions at night. At that time,I had played a bunch of tunes for director Prawaal Raman,and he loved them. He thought that my songs were peppy and would find a connect with the youth. The songs also fitted in perfectly into the script.

What kind of music have you composed for 404?

The music has been composed from stuff created by my band,Pulp Society,which has been playing funk and disco music for years. We also occasionally play at Delhi University. 404’s music has the usual,hardcore Hindi lyrics. But,there’s a lot of attitude to it. The lyrics have a lot of street slang and are witty and gritty at the same time. The songs in the film reflect different moods.

Does it bother you that your role as a music composer might overshadow your acting career?

Music happened organically for me. I have a couple of more projects in hand. But,I would like to strike a fine balance between my acting career and music. My family has been into performance and acting. It is an integral part of our livelihood,so I’ll never stop performing for cinema or theatre. My musical side is relatively new. It was my calling and I took it up.

Do you have a favourite director?

I love Vishal Bhardwaj and Sudhir Mishra’s body of work; the duo have stuck to making interesting cinema. Anurag Basu is a very stylish filmmaker and Dibaker Banerjee seems comfortable and at ease with his art.

What are the roles that you are on the lookout for?

The script needs to interest me. I am looking out for meatier roles that can challenge me a little more. I’d like to play a villager or a villain. I would also love to do comedy.

Is it true that you aspire to direct a film?

Yes,I hope to direct a film on India as it has so much of character to it.

What about doing a Hollywood project?

There are a couple of projects in the pipeline but I really cannot talk about it right now.

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