Naseeruddin Shah with son Vivaan Shah
Shaheen Parkar (MID-DAY; March 21, 2017)

Vivaan Shah has two acting institutes at home — father, Naseeruddin, and mother, Ratna Pathak. The young actor is keen that his father wield the directorial baton again, after his 2006 directorial debut, Yun Hota To Kya Hota failed to soar at the box office. There are two stories that are close to the veteran actor’s heart — Ismat Chughtai’s Niwala and Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost. Naseer has already written the screenplay for the former, says Vivaan. “It’s a story about a woman who sees this guy on the bus daily. She falls for him and, one day, decides to dress up to grab his attention. Ironically, that day, he does not recognise her.”

Vivaan considers his father a reservoir of knowledge and often urges him to put his learning on paper and pen a book. “He has decades of experience in conducting acting workshops at numerous institutes and an academic approach to the art. He needs to write like legends including, Konstantin Stanislavski and Lee Strasberg.”

Naseer’s last directorial venture, which starred Konkana Sen Sharma, Paresh Rawal, Irrfan Khan and Ayesha Takia, left him with bitter memories. It is alleged that he had creative differences with the producers. Vivaan adds that he is still hesitant to helm a film. “He prefers to be the general of our theatre group, but we are trying to coax him [to direct films instead]. Hopefully, he will listen and have a role for me,” he chuckles.

For the young actor, the term career is too highfalutin. “Dad has told not to have a game plan when it comes to choosing films. He says, an actor does not choose films, films choose him. I keep my options open and want to do all kinds of cinema. Commercial cinema is the toughest.”

At 27, he is happy with the kind of films he has been associated with. After 7 Khoon Maaf (2011), Happy New Year (2014) and Bombay Velvet (2015), his upcoming film, Manish Harishankar’s Laali Ki Shaadi Mein Laaddoo Deewana pairs him with Akshara Haasan. “It is a fun romantic outing. I am lucky to find work consistently. It is difficult for actors to sustain. Had I not been my father’s son, no one would have known me.”