“…and then one day you find
Ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun”
– Pink Floyd, ‘Time’, Dark Side of the Moon
And so begins the recently released memoirs of Naseeruddin Shah ‘And then one day..’ – an artist par excellence and one who has exemplified his love for Urdu through his works, in theatre, films or television, here is an actor who has demonstrated his versatility through his works over the decades, be it the confused infidel husband and father in Masoom to the loser photographer who questions the system in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, from Oye Oye in Tridev to Ooh la la in Dirty Picture, from playing Mirza Ghalib to Iqbal. His Motley plays on Manto and Ismat Chughtai, strike a special chord with us as they brought to the forefront such stalwarts of Urdu literature who could have been relegated to a forgettable corner but were gifted to the audience on a wonderful platform through Naseer’s plays. Surprisingly, Naseer has built his body of work, not in a structured manner, but through instinct and rebellion. His memoirs (mainly of his earlier years) are a candid recognition of the mistakes he may have made in his personal and professional spheres and speak easily to each one of us. As an ode to his works and his life, the Urduwallahs recommend ‘And then one day…” to all our readers.
Here is the book summary for reference (source: amazon.in):
Naseeruddin Shah’s sparkling memoir of his early years, ‘from zero to thirty-two’, spans his extraordinary journey from a feudal hamlet near Meerut, to Catholic schools in Nainital and Ajmer and finally to stage and film stardom in Mumbai. Along the way, he recounts his passages through Aligarh University, the National School of Drama and the Film and Television Institute of India, where his luck finally began to change. And Then One Day tells a compelling tale, written with rare honesty and consummate elegance, leavened with tongue in cheek humour. There are moving portraits of family members, darkly funny accounts of his school days and vivid cameos of directors and actors he has worked with, among them Ebrahim Alkazi, Shyam Bengal, Girish Karnad, Om Puri and Shabana Azmi. The accounts of his struggle to earn a living through acting, his experiments with the craft, his love affairs, his early marriage, his successes and failures are narrated with remarkable frankness and objective self-assessment. Brimming with delightful anecdotes as well as poignant, often painful revelations, this book is a tour de force, destined to become a classic of the genre.