Even though she is a star kid, Heeba Shah throws no tantrums. She doesn't evade interviews, responds to messages and doesn't think twice before saying 'I can't quit theatre for money'. Popular and immensely respected in the theatre circuit, Heeba accredits father Naseeruddin Shah for never pressurizing her to become a commercial Bollywood star. And that's precisely why she loves doing theater more than anything else in her life. But at times, she does regret not planning her career and thinks meeting people can still prove beneficial in winning interesting projects. Read on to know what she has to say about father's choice of films, her feature film 'Q' and a lot more.
You recently featured in Sanjeev Gupta's 'Q' which has been lauded at several prestigious events including the Ladakh International Film Festival and Europe's Split Film Festival 2014. Needless to say, the film is attention grabbing, courtesy your contribution and the script. What made you accept the film?
Sanjeev called me to narrate the script in January this year. When he explained the concept to me, I found it intriguing and instantly liked it. Since the film's script was both strong and convincing I accepted the offer.
Agreed, there are several platforms now to screen feature films, but don't you think a commercial release of films like 'Q' can help them reach a wider audience?
Yes, that can help a lot. Sanjeev went broke sending the film 'Q' to festivals. There are several such thought-provoking films that deserve a wider reach. Why can't cinema halls offer a slot to filmmakers for such projects? I mean, even a slot on Saturdays/Sundays can prove significant. It is sad that we don't think about good short films.
Your father Naseeruddin Shah's contribution to Indian cinema is huge. What made you stay away from Bollywood?
Yes, my father's work is all about grace. Films he has done so far has been the best of what was on offer. He has done several interesting projects like 'Masoon', 'Sparsh', 'Albert Pinto'. And seeing him perform onstage is so amazing. He gives his best to everything he does. I also spoke to him while he was filming 'Finding Fanny' and he told me he had lots of fun while doing the project.
For me, film is a different ball game. You have to get a portfolio done before you approach for work and most of the times, roles offered aren't really that interesting. Frankly, I never planned my career. And my father also never pushed anyone of us to become typical Bollywood actors. So we never felt the need of meeting people to get projects. But I think I should start doing that now. I started my career as a child artist in TV soaps, some were also stories which were written by Gulzar saab. Since I enjoyed acting I accepted roles of a kid/college student. Honestly speaking, it was done for fun and some money. I still remember getting Rs 300 for working backstage for my father's company. After I was handed over my first earning, I also got a lecture on why and how I should save money (laughs).
Did you face any difficulty in striking a balance between theater and TV projects?
Yes. Even while I was doing theater, I got a lot of TV offers. But it was only when I started doing theater and TV together that I realized balancing the two was very tough. Each time I met people for TV projects, they asked me for my dates and said, 'We would love to have you, but you will have to leave theater for it'. But striking a balance between the two was very difficult. I wasn't convinced with the idea of quitting theater for money.
Your brother Vivaan is making his Bollywood debut with 'Happy New Year' and Imaad has also been part of bollywood projects...
I wish Vivaan all the best for his directorial debut. We both talk a lot about films. He knows what he wants from life and has his ideas about everything, which is appreciative. Imaad Shah has also been busy doing a lot of things. And it is not just theater. Imaad has his own band, he has been busy writing, composing music. I'm really happy for both of them.