Naseeruddin Shah & Kalki Koechlin Discuss The State Of Bollywood

By | May 29, 2016

‘Waiting’ is the new Bollywood darling film which has been garnering huge critical acclaim from all around. A story about two different people and a chance encounter with each other, and how they support each other through a difficult time is what ‘Waiting’ is all about, but ends up being a lot more. Starring in lead roles, Bollywood legend and independent film pioneer Naseeruddin Shah, and one of Bollywood’s new generation of talent Kalki Koechlin. The film is directed by Anu Menon of ‘London Paris New York‘ fame.

In an interview with NDTV to promote the film, actors Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin discuss the film and the state of the Bollywood industry from their varying experience levels and perspectives.


Naseeruddin Shah is obviously one of the most experienced and prestigious actors of the Indian Film Industry, not just Bollywood. Working from the 1970s and blazing trails  with dark comedies like ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron’ and emotional classics like ‘Masoom’, the actor has not only been a part of cinematic history, but also has been very outspoken about the industry itself.

Those viewpoints appear in this interview as Shah discusses the state of the industry and the mentality with which Bollywood movies are made; more focused on star power and mass media appeal, than concerned with storytelling or the content of what is being produced. As Shah puts it, film stars are hired first, then stories and scenes are written around them to suit their strengths.

The star also discusses the gender disparity in Bollywood, calling out the interviewer that despite the few successful films centered around women, the ratio of those films compared the bulk amount of movies the industry releases, is far and few in between.

While acknowledging that women haven’t entered areas of Bollywood that they haven’t been in before, Shah admits that there is a lot more work to be done. Comparing the opportunities of women and younger talent like Koechlin, Shah discusses that there are a lot more substantial opportunities for this generation than back in his day.

“I envy actors like Kalki.” – Naseeruddin Shah 

When asked about the Censor Board controversy in India, both actors admit that it’s a moot point. Both Koechlin and Shah discuss their own experiences with having to dumb down their performances and how the film censor system of India is broken. Both appeal for a rating system to be applied than a film certification system.

“The wrongs films are getting family certification, and the wrong movies are getting adult certification.” – Kalki Koechlin

The most interesting revelation from the interview is a quick blurb about Naseeruddin Shah contemplating a tell-all book about Bollywood and its insider workings. While joking about it, Shah did mention it’s something he wants to write and complete to share with the world.

“It’s the respectative status of the actors which determines the construction of the scenes in Hindi movies.” – Naseeruddin Shah 

Here’s hoping that Naseeruddin Shah, Bollywood legend and icon does write that book so we can hear more about how much Bollywood has progressed since his day, but much more we have to go.

‘Waiting‘ is now released as of May 27th, 2016. 

One thought on “Naseeruddin Shah & Kalki Koechlin Discuss The State Of Bollywood

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