Naseeruddin Shah escapes from Pakistan!

The actor has just completed a Pakistani film on illegal immigration, titled Zinda Bhaag

At a time when Naseeruddin Shah is trending amongst fans of the superbly vulgar trailer of Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum, thanks to him being mentioned in a joke there, the actor himself has managed to return to India. He was in Pakistan, shooting for a film named Zinda Bhaag (Escape Alive). The film is in Urdu and Punjabi and is due for a release next year. Shah’s first Pakistani film was Shoaib Mansoor’s Khuda Kay Liye that was a hit on both sides of the border. Shah spent some time in Lahore a month ago in order to soak up Pakistani culture and the way Urdu and Punjabi are spoken there. He then returned and filmed for a week, wrapped up his part and returned home to India.

Shah’s role is that of a middleman who facilitates illegal immigration. “Zinda Bhaag is a film based on the subject of illegal immigration. This is a big problem in Pakistan and India because overpopulation and lack of opportunities makes people desperate to flee to supposedly greener pastures. There are people in this business who lure unemployed youth with false promises of money and luxury and send them abroad illegally. The subject of the film is very good and it deals with different issues that stem from the crime of illegal immigration. He has different illegal businesses and one of them is to give hope of a dream life to youth, and he coaxes youngsters into giving him all their money. This is a film that is tailor-made for the Pakistani audience. It deals with the problems present in their society,” says Shah. Looks like the actor is obsessed with immigration issues as his disastrous directorial debut Yun Hota To Kya Hota (Remember? No? Not to worry, nobody does, including Shah) also had a diverse set of characters fleeing the country.

Zinda Bhaag is being co-directed by Pakistan’s Farjad Nabi and India’s Meenu Gaur. Nabi’s glittering career so far encompasses the documentary shorts Nusrat Has Left The Building… But When? and No One Believes The Professor and the short film Yeh Hui Na Mardon Wali Baat. His co-director Gaur has also made a documentary short Paradise On a River Of Hell. Mazhar Zaidi, who produced some of Nabi’s earlier work, is the producer. “It is a low-budget film that seeks to break the Pakistani film stereotype. We would like to release it simultaneously in Pakistan and India.” Given the team’s background, here’s hoping that the film provides some entertainment and isn’t some dire NGO-type film that wins awards in obscure film festivals in Slovenia and sends all except jhola-kurta bores in India into a gigantic symphony of snores. There is some comfort to be gleaned from the fact that the soundtrack at least promises to be a cracker. Composed by the popular Sahir Ali Bagga, it will feature the voices of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Arif Lohar and Amanat Ali. That’s enough to make us happy.