Old classics are national heritage, should be restored: Farooque Sheikh (Interview)

Mumbai, April 1 (IANS) Restoring classics is like “restoring heritage”, says seasoned actor Farooque Shiekh, who rues that many good films perished but is happy over steps being taken to save other masterpieces like his “Chashme Buddoor”.

One of the best classic comedies of all time, Sai Paranjpye-directed 1981 film “Chashme Buddoor” has finally been digitally restored.

“It’s a pity that we haven’t restored many memorable films yet. Indian films are like a national heritage that reflects our society in various times,” Farooque told IANS.

“It’s like restoring the part of the heritage. The future generation will get to see how it was earlier and will get a fair idea.

“But I am happy that at least now we have started the registration process for such films. However, it saddens me that we haven’t restored many good films, which are a part of our cultural history,” he added.

The 65-year-old showed his acting acumen in a string of commercially successful and critically acclaimed films “Noorie”, “Saath Saath”, “Umrao Jaan”, “Bazaar”, “Katha” and “Biwi Ho To Aisi” among others.

The restored version of “Chashme Buddoor”, which marks one of his best performances so far, is releasing April 5 along with its remake, which has been directed by David Dhawan, a director known for making super-hit comedies like “Hero No. 1” and “Partner”.

Never in the history of Indian cinema digitally restored version of a classic and its remake have come out on the same day.

The veteran actor, who was recently seen in “Listen… Amaya”, would like to first see Dhawan’s “Chashme Baddoor”, which features Ali Zafar, Siddharth, and Taapsee Pannu.

“I really want to see how David has made the film. I will go with my family to see David’s film first and then I will see my own film, which I have seen many times,” he said.

“I am also excited to see the restored print of ‘Chashme Buddoor’ with its upgraded version and sound effect,” added the actor, who had teamed up with Deepti Naval, Rakesh Bedi and Ravi Baswani in the fun-filled buddy movie.

A good comedy requires a strong script, he feels.

“Double meaning or below the belt comedies are made when the script is not strong. So, if you have a strong script, you don’t need all these things,” he said and added such films can’t be watched with families.

He said: “It gets uncomfortable to watch such films with family and these films cannot be slotted in the comedy genre.”

Another regrettable change that he has noticed in filmdom is missing melodies in songs. “One thing that got lost over the years is melody in songs. We have to pay attention to that.”

Nowadays, box office numbers guide the filmmaking process and the Rs.100 crore club is the latest fad in filmdom, but Farooque feels art should not be governed by money.

“If you want to make a film, then commerce is part of it. Art is an expensive form to express, but only making money should not be the predominant idea.

“Earlier, we used to make films by starting from head (content) and then used to come to the tail (money part), but these days we are starting from tail and then come to the head,” he said.

Not seen in too many films nowadays, Farooque finds acting satisfying and would like to be an actor in his next birth as well.

“For me, acting is very rewarding and a satisfying feeling on this earth. I am blessed to be an actor. And what more can I ask for? I can only try harder and do better work. If given an option, I would like to be an actor in my next birth as well,” said the actor, who has also been active on the small screen and featured in the show “Ji Mantriji” and hosted “Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai”.

(Uma Ramasubramanian can be contacted at [email protected])

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