Naseeruddin Shah is an actor extraordinaire, characterized by seamless and gripping performances in cinema and theater for over thirty years now.
Basics on Naseeruddin Shah
Naseeruddin Shah was born on 20th July 1950 in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, India. His older brother Lt General Zahiruddin Shah was in the Indian Army.
Shah’s school days were spent in St Anselm in Ajmer. He has a graduation in Arts from the Aligarh Muslim University and later joined the National School of Drama, Delhi.
Shah, who was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 2009 by the Government of India, married actress Ratna Pathak in 1982. They have three children – Heeba, Imaad and Vivan. Imaad Shah was seen in Sooni Taraporevala’s Little Zizou (2009).
He started a theater group called Motley Productions with Tom Alter and Benjamin Gilani. He was the narrator for the movie Paheli and the Karadi Tales’ audiobook series.
Theater and cinema aside, he was seen on television in Gulzar’s show on Mirza Ghalib which was aired on DD National channel.
Naseeruddin Shah’s Movies
1975 to 1984 Naseeruddin Shah acted in many movies with Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil like Nishant (1975), Manthan (1976), Bhumika (1977) and Aakrosh (1980). In 1981, he started appeared in a more commercial movie Umrao Jaan.
Kundan Shah’s Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (1983) was a look at the sleazy side of politics and media. He was seen as a photographer Vinod Chopra. Shekar Kapur’s first directorial venture Masoom (1983) saw Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi in the lead. It was based on a story by Erich Segal called Man, Woman and Child.
1985 to 1994 Shah and Smita Patil were seen together in Mirch Masala (1985). He worked with Subhash Ghai in Karma (1986) fighting the evil Doctor Dang. He teamed up with his wife Ratna Pathak in The Perfect Murder (1988) and was one of the three heroes in Rajiv Rai’s Tridev (1989) which was a huge hit.
He played a Kenyan police officer in Rajiv Rai’s Vishwatma (1992) and was seen in movies like Kabhie Haan Kabhie Naa (1993) and Mohra (1994).
1995 to 2004 Following China Gate and Such a Long journey in 1998, he put up a formidable performance as Gulfam Hassan in Sarfarosh (1999), who is a ghazal singer and an arms smuggler. He got to play Mahatma Gandhi in Hey Ram (2000) and a hapless father arranging his daughter’s wedding in Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding (2001).
Shah landed a part as Captain Nemo in Stephen Norrington’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003). Back in Bollywood, he played a witch in Maqbool (2003) which was an adaptation of Macbeth. In Nagesh Kukunoor’s 3 Deewarein (2003), he is one of the convicts, who kills a woman in the middle of a bank robbery.
2005 to 2009 Iqbal (2005) saw him give another impressive performance as an alcoholic cricket coach. Homi Adajani’s Being Cyrus was darker and he played the role of a sculptor Dinshaw. His fans saw him in another adaptation of Shakespeare, Vishal Bharadwaj’s Omkara (2006), as the politician Bhaisaab, whose character is based on the Duke of Venice.
In Rahul Dholakia’s Parzania (2007), which was based on a real life story, he played a Parsi, Cyrus, who loses his son during the Gujarat riots. In 2007, he was seen in a Pakistani movie Khuda Ke Liye.
His releases in 2008 included Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, which was popular with the mass and A Wednesday, which was critically acclaimed.
Shah’s next movie Barah Aana (2009) will see him as a taxi driver Shukla along with Vijay Raaz and Arjun Mathur.