Seasoned Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah says "we are too happy with ourselves" but the future belongs to SAARC nations like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka in terms of good cinema.
Naseer, who has been part of Pakistani director Shoaib Mansoor and director duo Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi's "Khuda Kay Liye" and "Zinda Bhaag", respectively, says the political relations between the two neighbouring nations may not be ideal, but the commoners on the other side of the border are "curious about us (Indians)" and "look at us with admiration".
"I have been visiting Pakistan quite frequently since I did 'Khuda Kay Liye', but I have not met anybody in India who can say that I have a Pakistani friend. I think it's really sad," Naseer said in a group interview.
"...They (Pakistanis) are, in fact, very curious about us. They look at us with awe and admiration," added the 63-year-old, who feels helpless due to the political scenario.
"I am not a politician, so I can't do a damn thing about it. All I can do is that when I go there, I do classes with university students in Lahore.
"I have a feeling that great cinema will emerge from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, definitely not from us. We are just too happy with ourselves. But these are the countries from which great cinema and art will emerge in the next 50 years or so," said Naseer.
Known for his impressive oeuvre that boasts of films like "Nishant", "Aakrosh", "Sparsh", "Mandi", "Ardh Satya" and "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro", the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan winner recently gave acclaimed performances in "Firaaq", "Ishqiya" and "A Wednesday".
Currently busy promoting his film "Dedh Ishqiya", Naseer describes "promotions as waste of time".
He said: "Promotions can't make an unsuccessful film successful. Promotions can only make a Rs.100 crore movie into a Rs.200 crore movie. I don't know why they are not satisfied with Rs.100 crore."
He also feels that promotions are not fruitful for him.
"In my case, where I didn't do any promotions, those films worked. I didn't promote 'Ishqiya', 'A Wednesday' and 'The Dirty Picture'. And whichever films I promoted have flopped."
Directed by Abhishek Chaubey, "Dedh Ishqiya", coming out next month, has Madhuri Dixit in the lead role. Arshad Warsi and Huma Qureshi will also be seen in pivotal roles.