I don’t even know what Daya Nayak looks like: Naseruddin Shah


By Hindustan Times

Naseeruddin Shah, who plays an encounter specialist in his upcoming film, says his character isn’t based on a real cop. In an interview with Roshmila Bhattacharya, he opens up.

What made you sign the film, Maximum?
After back-to-back projects, I wasn’t in the mood to take on another film. But I was drawn by (director) Kabeer Kaushik’s conviction. I’d been impressed by his concern for the forces in Sehar (2005). Now, he’s back with this story of two encounter cops. I’ve always encouraged young filmmakers, even though the three debutants I worked with last year made terribly disappointing movies.

Is your character modelled on Daya Nayak (the Mumbai encounter cop who was in the news between 1997 and 2003)?
(Smiles) I don’t even know what Daya Nayak looks like. Daya and Pradeep Sharma’s lives may be fodder for the script, but the story is fictional. Encounters didn’t begin with them. As a child, I remember a friend’s cop father was known as the dacoit-killer of UP after he gunned down dacoits who’d surrendered. He reasoned that no one would testify against them and they’d be out on bail in two weeks.

What’s your take on cops who shoot to kill?
It’s easy to condemn them because we’re dealing with human life here. Even some of these cops (who were in jail until recently) are loose cannons. It’s a chilling realisation, but then, the life of a cop is hellishly difficult given their ridiculous pay packets and job pressures.

Is the police fraternity likely to be upset?
I can’t say. People get upset over trivialities like the use of the word barber or a cobbler in a song.

Will the underworld take umbrage, given that the film shows a Bollywood star with links to the mafia?
(Laughs) Unless their interests are harmed, I don’t see them getting upset. They have lots of other problems to worry about.

When RGV ditched Naseer!
It’s rumoured that Naseer has signed Ram Gopal Varma’s Amma 3D being made in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and English. Naseer denies it, saying, “No, but Ramu surfaces every few years trying to interest me with a role. He came to me with Department and a character who’s heard, but never seen in the film. I accepted, excited by the novelty, and then he disappeared.”