'People are curious because you are a star kid'
Naseeruddin Shah's son Imaad has proven himself as an actor of caliber. Now, he will add another feather to his cap -- that of a music director.
The young actor has scored the music of his new film, 404, which releases today. It's already getting good reviews.
Patcy N caught up with Imaad, and quizzed him about the new film, and of course, being the son of a legend.
Why this transition from acting to composing music?
It is not transition. I have been making music and writing songs for a long time now. I'm part of this band called Pulp Society. So it's not a transition; 404 just happened to be my first project as a music director. There will definitely be many more.
What are you more comfortable with -- acting or composing?
The world has become open now, so there is no need to make that choice. You can easily do both. Cinema is a form where both things work together.
When did you start Pulp Society?
I started that about a year and a half ago. We're doing shows all over the country. We are also touring with the music of 404, as the songs are played by Pulp.
Image: Imaad Shah
'I have the basic knowledge of Hindustani classical music'
Did you take any training in music?
As a child, yes. I took classes from a Hindustani classical singer. I picked up the harmonium from him. But I got bored soon.
I have the basic knowledge of Hindustani classical music. That's essential for a music director.
I play the guitar and a bit of the keyboards. I learnt the guitar on my own.
When you learn music on your own, it becomes natural and flows easily out of you. A lot of my friends went through rigorous western classical training sessions, reading notations all their lives. They are good at playing other people's pieces but they cannot create their own -- or their inputs are limited. You need a combination of both.
After so many years of listening and learning, I think I need the bit of that as well. I need to go back and learn from a teacher.
What is important in a song: lyrics or music?
They co-exist. Lyrics are more important to me because I think the theme and the idea in the song makes it unique and interesting.
How did you get 404?
I came on board as an actor. When we were shooting in Dehradun, they heard my songs and were blown away. They would make me sit at night and ask me to play some music. That's when they told me to compose the songs for the film.
There are a total of five songs, and one bonus track Kya Dekha Raha Be which I have sung. There is another version of it in the film, sung by Suman Shrihar. I have done the male version of that.
I have sung three songs in all. I wrote the lyrics of all the songs.
Kya Dekha Raha Be is my favourite. But the response to Psycho Baba and Aisa He Hai is very good. They've caught on with the audience.
Image: Imaad Shah
'Being a star kid doesn't hamper your career in any way'
Why don't we see you often in movies?
I keep a low profile consciously. I think it is important to let a young boy lead the life he wants to and do things he wants to.
I have been very picky about the films I do. I do characters I find important. I have turned down work from big production houses.
I feel independent cinema should be pushed as far as possible and I am doing a lot of that. I have seen how that works and now I am ready to do a bit of both.
How much do you identify with the characters that you play?
I am a mischievous kind, like the character I play in 404. He's the silent, mischievous kind. Of course, I am not entirely like this character because he is a senior in college, and is very cruel to the juniors.
Does being a star kid help your career or hamper it?
People are curious about you because you are a star kid.
It's good because you get to see how the industry works from a closer perspective, from the inside. It helps you to work with the kind of directors you want.
It doesn't hamper your career in any way.
Image: Imaad Shah
'I am not choosy because of my father'
Your father was very choosy about the films he did. Is that why you're choosy about your films?
No, I am not choosy because of my father. We are similar in many ways but still, I wouldn't say this is because of him. We respect each other as individuals and are really good friends.
Does he give you any tips?
Not too many. He is aware that I could make my own decisions. But we do work a lot together. We run a theatre company (Motley). He conducts workshops and very much into teaching. I assist him with his workshops.
What about your mother, the talented Ratna Pathak Shah?
She's a very interesting actor in her own right. She's really good on stage and has a different set of skills. She's very charismatic and elegant and stylish.
Are you Papa's boy or Mama's boy?
(Laughs) Neither, actually. We all get along well as a family.
You met with a train accident a few years ago, and were at home for a long time. How difficult was that period?
It was difficult. I was in hospital for a long time. There was a lot of pain. But that has made me bear physical pain now. I've become tough.
Image: Imaad Shah
'Vivaan definitely one of the best things in Saat Khoon Maaf'
What did you think about your brother Vivaan's performance in Saath Khoon Maaf?
I thought it was a very sincere performance. You could see that he tried very hard. He's definitely one of the best things in the film. It was surprisingly a mature performance. His diction was very good and his voiceover was also very well written by Vishal (Bhardwaj, director).
Your entire family is full of actors. What are the dinner-table conversations like?
We talk about what any other normal family would talk about -- conversations about mundane things like work. When we were in school, it was about report cards and mark sheets. If my brother bangs a car, then we would talk about that. It's just regular stuff.
Have you finished your education?
I have done my Bachelor of Arts degree in History but I want to study music. I've been working on mixing and producing my own music. That skill requires a lot of knowledge.
Do you want to assist a music composer to learn more about music?
I am looking forward to assisting composers. I find Vishal Bhardwaj's music interesting. I am looking forward to working with him on his project.
Image: Imaad and his Pulp Society perform at the music launch of 404