BENGALURU: One would know Saeed Akhtar Mirza from his acclaimed works like Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyoon Aata Hai (1980), Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho (1984) and Nukkad (1986). But it was after Naseem (1995) that the director and screenwriter bid farewell to films. Naseem heavily revolved around events surrounding the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 and won the national award for best direction. On February 21, Mirza delivered a masterclass, which saw a reminiscence of his works at the Bangalore International Centre.
Mirza emphasised on Naseem as a turning point in his career. “When you see a moment which you know is historical and then you realise that one is a citizen of this country, the element of faith that you have is put to an incredible test. The events of 1992 to me was like the end of an era. I turned more reflective and started travelling across India on road in order to regain faith. I would spend time with people and that’s when you realise what this country is really all about.
You regain faith when you meet ordinary people because they are generous and forgiving,” he said. He went on to document his travels which spanned for over five months and 55,000 km, covering people and understanding their perspective of what independence meant to them – the documentary was titled A Tryst with the People of India. Speaking about his upcoming projects, Mirza said he is working on his fourth book which he looks to release in the near future and is actively involved in workshops with the Sambhavna Trust. Ask him on whether a return to films is a possibility, and he rules it out, adding, “Films require physical energy, mentally I’m there but one has to be up and about. I’m happy with writing as I can cover vast streams of consciousness than a film. One can gather their lives only through a book, films are stuck at the idea of a narrative.”