Naseeruddin Shah’s memoir “And Then One Day” left me desiring for more. Shah has focused more on his personal life and failed to give equal consideration to his professional life. I wanted to learn more about the films he played and his reactions to them. The reactions (mostly negative) are there but he talks nothing about his career after 1980s.
Shah feels himself a misfit in Hindi film industry where people who don’t know their onions rule the roost and produce cat’s vomit that goes by the name of commercial cinema. He feels comfortable only in so-called “art-cinema” (he waxes eloquent about the movie “Sparsh”). Ruthlessness in passing judgment on others and even on himself is the hallmark of his memoir. The strained relationship with his father perhaps makes him a tempestuous man of temper who is garrulous and disobedient to directors in film sets.
However, the warm appreciation he shows for fellow actors Om Puri, Shabana Azmi (barring one place where he criticizes her acting), Smita Patil and some others is delightful. His frank observations of Indian theater and movies show us the murky reality of the show business. His command over the English language is superb and the memoir consists of delightful phrases and sentences. He could have written more.