Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah has often spoken about his complex relationship with his father, who disapproved of his decision to become an actor. In past interviews, he has opened up about having a heart to heart with him at his grave. In a new interview, Naseer spoke about a dream he had some years after his father’s passing, where he found a level of closure.
Appearing on the We Are Yuvaa YouTube channel, the actor said that his father wanted him to follow in the footsteps of his two elder brothers and find a reputable job. But he rebelled and decided to pursue his dream of becoming an actor, which didn’t sit well with his dad. Naseer also spoke about the patriarchal atmosphere that he grew up in, and said that he never wanted to repeat the same mistakes that his father made with his own children.
Asked about this, Naseer said in Urdu, “This is a tricky subject. I never wanted to become like my father. I wanted my children to be relaxed around me, and be my friends. I have been only partially successful, because some behaviours are ingrained in you, not because of genetics, but memetics – what a person gathers from their surroundings. I tend to lose my temper some times. I have never raised my hand on them. I don’t want them to be afraid of me. I don’t know how successful I have been.”
He said that he hasn’t been an ‘ideal father’ by any stretch of the imagination, but that he has been conscious about his behaviour. Asked what he learned about his father after he passed away, Naseer said, “I used to think of him as the villain of my life. But I’d forgotten how open-hearted he was. It was impossible for him to understand me, and he was afraid of what he would find out if he tried to understand me.”
Naseer spoke about a dream he had about his father, and said that this is the only dream that he has ever had that he still remembers. “It was two or three years after his death. In the dream, we’re sitting across from each other with a long interview table between us. And he says to me, ‘Tell me about your father’. And I don’t hold back. I tell him every complaint I’ve ever had against him. And he listens silently, smiling as if he understands. I found some closure, but alas, we never saw eye to eye.”
Naseer is married to actor Ratna Pathak Shah, and they have two children, Imaad and Vivaan. He has a daughter, Heeba, from a previous marriage.