Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah is among the finest performers that Indian cinema has ever seen. The actor is known to be one of the pioneers of parallel cinema in India. He recently chronicled his life in an autobiography named ‘And Then One Day: A Memoir’. His life journey is certainly a remarkable one but one particular emotional incident from his memoir caught our eye. Do you know that the actor spoke his heart out to his late father Aley Mohammed Shah only at his grave?
In the book, the veteran actor has recalled that incident when he was not present with his late father during his final moments and even his final rituals were carried out in his absence. Naseeruddin says that he failed to convince the airlines’ staff about the urgency of boarding a flight at that time when he got this news about his father. But, as he reached at Sardhana (located in Uttar Pradesh) after the final rituals were done, he came to the place where his father was buried and this was the time when he started to speak to his grave. (Also Read: Naseeruddin Shah ignores a question on Vinod Khanna’s health)
Naseeruddin Shah writes, “The day I arrived in Sardhana I visited the mound of earth that was Baba now and we had the first of the many easy conversations I was later to have with him. That day I talked to him about the film I had just done, felt his amusement at my playing a shaven-headed Hindu priest. I told him about my dreams and my doubts, about Ratna (Shah’s wife) whom he had never met, about how much I was now earning, anything that came into my head. I knew he was listening and responding. This was an actual conversation in which I took the initiative. I suddenly began to feel the weight of all I had lost out on and would never regain and I was surprised by how much I suddenly missed him.” [sic]
The actor has shared that he had a difficult relationship with his father as he failed to live up to the expectations he had from him, specifically talking about his poor academic performance. Naseeruddin has mentioned that once he started yelling at his father after he was scolded for starting a hunger strike at FTII.
“I told him I knew he could not tolerate my presence, well I had news for him-the feeling was mutual, I had never cared for him just as he had never cared for me and I knew he just wanted an excuse to lose me. I told him he was done with me forever. As I went on frothing at the mouth, he stayed silent but hurt and fear appeared in his eyes. I picked up my bag to go but he did not move. Had it not been for Ammi’s intervention at that moment I would probably never have gone anywhere near him again. So convinced was I that he deserved to be told all this that I was oblivious to how deep a wound I was inflicting.” [sic]
In one of the earlier chapters of the autobiography, Naseeruddin has even said, “I was always told I was my father’s favourite, words that would come back to haunt me later.” [sic]
Indeed, it is such a heart-wrenching incident and a very emotional story to remember.