Why Naseeruddin Shah played a sardar in Modern Love: Mumbai.
In Amazon Prime Video's beautifully charted anthology Modern Love: Mumbai, Vishal Bhardwaj's fabulously feisty Mumbai Dragon features Naseeruddin Shah as an endearing Sardarji named Pappi Singh.
Who on earth but Bharadwaj would think of casting Naseer as a turbanator?
Says Naseer, "I haven't yet seen the film. But I have a weak spot for the sardar community and have always wanted to play one. I had a fun time playing Pappi because I also love the Punjabi accent."
Naseer has worked earlier with Bhardwaj in Maqbool and Saat Khoon Maaf.
He feels the film-maker has evolved over the years.
"Vishal is certainly more assured in handling actors than he was before. I enjoy his company; he's a straightforward person and I'm deeply grateful for all the help Vishal Bharadwaj and his wife (singer) Rekha have given me in staging my plays.
"I'd do anything for him, though I must admit I haven't liked all his films."
Mumbai Dragon makes a very strong statement about the segregation of the north-east.
Naseer, who has always been vocal on the subject of cultural persecution, says, "We seem to be living in times where we love inventing new enemies. Sadly, this is the age of hate."
Interestingly, Naseer's talented elder son Imaad Shah has a cameo in Mumbai Dragon, though father and son do not have any shared moments on screen.
Says Naseer, "Imaad is perfectly happy doing his music and the occasional role he's offered. Everyone gets their due if they persevere long enough."