Films | Artist Interview | NAWWAB SHAH – You wanna be BAD, you gotta be good!

NAWWAB SHAH – You wanna be BAD, you gotta be good!

Posted by Editor on January 20, 2012 | No Comments

DON 2, had more bad guys than good guys, after all it was based on bad against bad. In all of those characters, one was new for Don 2….Jabbar,played to perfection by Nawwab Shah. Interestingly, Nawwab has traversed many creative grounds which includes Television, Regional Films and other interesting Hindi cinema roles. Let us find out more about this towering personality.

An Afghan who has made it in Bollywood, how did that come about?

Well it is not completely true. While my parents came from Afghanistan many years ago, I was born and have lived in India all my life. My father’s side is from Afghanistan but even they came here about fifty years ago, so I am Indian in all respects. Therefore, I am not a complete outsider who has made it in Bollywood. I did my schooling in acting with Roshan Taneja, in 1993, in Mumbai. I got my first break shortly thereafter with a Sanjay Khan show, called AKBAR THE GREAT,  for Doordarshan. I was fortunate enough to be signed for the title role, given that I was very green. That to me was the biggest training ground since it covered all facets, action, dialogue delivery, music, the whole learning process for me and I could not have asked for a better launch.

So now that you are the big and amazing screen presence of DON 2, is it goodbye TV?

Not really. Truth be told I would not perhaps like to see myself in daily soaps and I have not done much of TV, but I did take on small episodic stories that came my way. They were not lengthy and were also interesting in the way they were filmed. This lead to the series called SARTHI, which was on Star Plus and I did that for three years. If I look at the major chunk of my work on TV, it is SAARTHI and AKHBAR THE GREAT which took like five years of mine. So it is not about movies or television, I mean I have done about 29 movies in the South in Tamil, Telegu, Kannada and Malayalam, I’ve done an English film, a short tele-film,  so I would not restrict myself to anything, especially since today TV and films are of the same breadth and expanse. So it is more a combination of what strikes my fancy and what sounds interesting at the time, is what I will take on.

In DON 2, I think your look was the most international, so that brings me to the question would you also be open to projects in places like the UK or the US?

Yes of course. Doing projects in Mumbai and this is true for all artists, after a while gets repetitive, be it in the genre of action, or whatever, so I would look to work anywhere outside. An example is a friend of mine from New Zealand, is making a medium budget film, so for me to be a part of a different crew, distinct Geography, language, the whole process was very exciting. So be it British, UK, regional, to the extent that I fit in well with the character, would be fun to do.

Given that you have done so many films in the South, how do you overcome the language barrier?

It varies from film to film. Like I did a Malayalam film with Mohanlal, actually got an award for that film. We obviously know the meaning of every word that we are saying, as it is told to us, so ideally you memorize your lines and speak them, because your pronunciation is not totally correct, they do tend to get local speakers to dub it. But by the same token I had done another Malyalam film where they wanted the character to speak with not the typical accent, almost like an outsider, so that worked very well. I have also done and spoken Tamil, Telegu and Kannada that way. Sometimes an assistant will be prompting, while I am performing and I tend to catch the words, so there are various ways but eventually they do dub it because they need a certain fluency of language.

Your favorite moment of DON 2 and what it was like to work with Farhan and Shah Rukh?

Every moment from the time I signed it. I signed DON 2 in Feb 2011 and the shooting was in October, from that moment on I did not do any other work, since I wanted to devote my time to this. I was under going training for about five to six months before the movie started. Then landed up for a two month shoot in Berlin. I have worked before with Farhan in Lakshya. I’ve known Farhan and Ritesh for the past twenty years, so the comfort level was always there. This was an unique opportunity since the character was a principal character and a very interesting one, also a new one, as he was not part of the original Don and the remake. So in all honesty enjoyed every bit of it.

Finally what is upcoming?

Am doing a film for Rakesh Omprakash Mehra, with whom I have always wanted to work, called Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. I play an athletic coach to the main character, essayed by Farhan. The filming  starts in March. I am leaving in a couple of days for some very serious training to get into the skin of the character. I anticipate approximately a 2-3 month shoot, so am not rushing into things but giving this one all of my time.


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