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Naseeruddin Shah

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Title: Naseeruddin Shah  
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Subject: Asambhav, Anil Kapoor, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor, Kamal Haasan, Tajurba
Collection: 1949 Births, Actors in Gujarati-Language Films, Actors in Hindi Cinema, Aligarh Muslim University Alumni, Best Actor National Film Award Winners, Best Supporting Actor National Film Award Winners, Film and Television Institute of India Alumni, Filmfare Awards Winners, Indian Expatriate Male Actors in Pakistan, Indian Male Film Actors, Indian Muslims, Living People, Male Actors in Gujarati-Language Films, Male Actors in Hindi Cinema, National School of Drama Alumni, People from Barabanki, People from Mumbai, People from Uttar Pradesh, Recipients of the Padma Bhushan, Recipients of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Shah Family, Volpi Cup Winners
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Naseeruddin Shah

Naseeruddin Shah
Naseeruddin Shah in 2011
Born Naseeruddin Shah
(1950-07-20) 20 July 1950 [1]
Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation Actor, Environmentalist
Years active 1972–present
Notable work Karma,Mirza Ghalib (1989) The Perfect Murder, A Wednesday, Sarfarosh, Khuda Ke Liye, Monsoon Wedding, Masoom,Zinda Bhaag, The Extraordinary Gentlemen, Iqbal
Spouse(s) Parveen Murad, also known as Manara Sikri (deceased)
Ratna Pathak (1982–present)
Children Heeba Shah
Imaad Shah
Vivaan Shah
Relatives Zameerud-din Shah (Brother)
Dina Pathak (Mother-in-law)
Supriya Pathak (Sister-in-law)
Muhammed Ali Shah (Nephew)
Awards Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri, National Film Award
Naseeruddin Shah Signature

Naseeruddin Shah (born 20 July 1950[1]) is an Indian film and stage actor and director, and a prominent figure in Indian parallel cinema. Shah has won numerous awards in his career, including three National Film Awards, three Filmfare Awards and an award at the Venice Film Festival. The government of India has honoured him with the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan awards for his contributions to Indian cinema.[2]


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • As a director 2.1
    • Other media and art forms 2.2
  • Personal life 3
  • Autobiography 4
  • Awards 5
    • Other awards 5.1
  • Filmography and writing 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Shah was born into a Muslim family in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh state of India. He is a descendant of a 19th-century Afghan warlord Jan-Fishan Khan who participated in the First Anglo-Afghan War and helped the British in the subsequent Indian Rebellion of 1857.[3]

Shah did his schooling at St. Anselm's Ajmer and St Joseph's College, Nainital. He graduated in arts from Aligarh Muslim University in 1971 and attended National School of Drama in Delhi. He has been successful in mainstream Bollywood cinema as well as in Parallel Cinema. He has appeared in international films, notably playing Captain Nemo in the Hollywood adaptation The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

His elder brother, Lt. General Zameerud-din Shah (Retd.) PVSM, SM, VSM, is current Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University. His nephew (cousin's son) Salim Shah is also a TV and film actor.[4]


Shah has acted in movies such as Nishant, Aakrosh, Sparsh, Mirch Masala, Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Ata Hai, Trikal, Bhavni Bhavai, Junoon, Mandi, Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho!, Ardh Satya, Katha, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, etc.[5] In the very early stages of his career he acted in the film Dil Aakhir Dil Hai directed by noted director Ismail Shroff, with Rakhi where she played the character of Naseer's elder girlfriend Kusumji whom he was forced to marry unwillingly because he is quite younger than her (in the film). One of his most important films, Masoom (1983) was shot at St Joseph's College, Nainital.

He became active in mainstream Bollywood cinema with the 1980 film Hum Paanch. His next major success in mainstream films was the 1986 multi-starrer film Karma where he acted alongside veteran Dilip Kumar. Starring roles for films such as Ijaazat (1987), Jalwa (1988) and Hero Hiralal (1988) followed. In 1988 he played opposite his wife Ratna Pathak as Inspector Ghote, the fictional detective of H. R. F. Keating's novels in the Merchant-Ivory English language film The Perfect Murder.

He has acted in several multi-starrer Bollywood films as well, such as Ghulami (1985), Tridev (1989) and Vishwatma (1992). In 1994, he acted as the villain in Mohra, his 100th film as an actor. He forayed into Malayalam cinema the same year, through T. V. Chandran's critically well acclaimed drama Ponthan Mada. The film portrayed the irrational bonding of a feudal serf (played by Mammootty) and a colonial landlord (played by Shah). He strongly believed that the distinction between art and commercial films had largely reduced, especially with the directors of the former also making commercial films. In 2000 his dream of playing Mahatma Gandhi was realised when he played Gandhi in Kamal Hassan's critically acclaimed Hey Ram which focused on the assassination of Gandhi from the assailant's point of view. He won a lot of critical acclaim by playing the role of Mohit, the drunken coach to a deaf and mute boy in Iqbal, which was written by Vipul K Rawal with Shah specially in mind. Shah acted superbly as Gulfam Hassan – a Ghazal singer cum terrorist mastermind, in the 1999 Aamir Khan starrer Sarfarosh. He also worked brilliantly in Neeraj Pandey's critically acclaimed A Wednesday (2008).

Later, he starred in international projects such as Monsoon Wedding in 2001 and a Hollywood comic book adaptation The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003 (co-starring Sean Connery) where he played the role of Captain Nemo. His portrayal of Nemo was very close to the design of the graphic novel, although his Nemo was far less manic. He worked in an Indian adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth, titled Maqbool and Rajiv Rai's Asambhav opposite Arjun Rampal and Priyanka Chopra in 2004. He then went on to work in The Great New Wonderful (2005). He was most recently seen in The Dirty Picture (2011). Shah's upcoming films include The Hunt where he plays a recluse growing marijuana in his forest retreat.

He made his Pakistani film debut in Khuda Ke Liye by Shoaib Mansoor where he played a short cameo. His second Pakistani film Zinda Bhaag was selected as the country's official entry to the 86th Academy Awards for the Best Foreign Language Film award.

As a director

Naseeruddin Shah has been giving performances with his theatre troupe at places such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Lahore. He has directed plays written by Lavender Kumar, Ismat Chughtai and Saadat Hasan Manto.

His directorial debut in movies, Yun Hota To Kya Hota, was released in 2006. It stars several established actors such as Konkona Sen Sharma, Paresh Rawal, Irfan Khan, newcomer Ayesha Takia, his son Imaad Shah and his old friend Ravi Baswani.

Other media and art forms

Naseeruddin Shah playing Pozzo in Motley's production of Waiting for Godot at The Doon School, 2009.

In 1977, he, Tom Alter and Benjamin Gilani formed a theatre group called Motley Productions. Their first play was Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, which was staged at the Prithvi Theatre on 29 July 1979.[6]

In 1988, he acted in the eponymous television series based on the life and times of Mirza Ghalib, directed by Gulzar and telecast on DD National.[7][8]

In 1989, he acted as the Maratha King Shivaji in another eponymous television series Bharat Ek Khoj based on Jawaharlal Nehru's book The Discovery of India.[9]

In 1999, he acted as a special agent in the TV series Tarkash on Zee TV. He played the role of a retired agent haunted by nightmares who is re-inducted as he apparently knows something about a dreaded terrorist somehow connected with his past.

In 1998, he played the role of Mahatma Gandhi in the play Mahatma Vs. Gandhi, (which looked at the Mahatma's relation with Harilal Gandhi, his first son).[10] With this, he achieved his objective of portraying Mahatma Gandhi, a role he had auditioned for in Richard Attenborough's Gandhi.[11] In 2000, he again portrayed the Mahatma, this time on film, in Hey Ram.[12]

He played the villain with the dual identity of a ghazal singer and a Pakistani spy who supports terrorism in India in Sarfarosh (1999).

He played the role of Mohit, a drunken coach, in the critically acclaimed Iqbal. The role was specially written keeping him in mind by Vipul K Rawal, the writer of the film. It was recently voted as one of ten Hindi films that is considered ideal training and motivational material.

He was the first of several celebrity actors, who played the role of narrator in the popular audiobook series for kids Karadi Tales.[13] He was the narrator in the film Paheli — the Indian entry to the 2006 Academy Awards.[14]

He has been awarded the life membership of International Film And Television Club of Asian Academy of Film & Television.

Personal life

Naseeruddin Shah with wife Ratna Pathak Shah, 2010 at Lahore.

Shah married Manara Sikri (actress Surekha Sikri's sister) when he was 20 years old, and they had a daughter, Heeba Shah, who is now an actress. The couple however separated, and Manara Sikri and Heeba moved to Iran. He married actress Ratna Pathak in 1982 after the death of his first wife.[15] He has two sons from his second marriage, actors Imaad and Vivaan. He co-starred with Ratna in films like Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na, Mirch Masala and The Perfect Murder.[16][17]


Shah has written his memoir And Then One Day published by Hamish Hamilton.[1]


Award Film Year Status
Civilian Awards
Padma Shri India's fourth highest civilian award 1987 Awarded
Padma Bhushan India's Third highest civilian award 2003 Awarded
National Film Award
National Film Award for Best Actor Sparsh 1979 Won
National Film Award for Best Actor Paar 1984 Won
National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor Iqbal 2006 Won
Filmfare Award
Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award Junoon 1980 Nominated
Filmfare Best Actor Award Aakrosh 1981 Won
Filmfare Best Actor Award Chakra 1982 Won
Filmfare Best Actor Award Bazaar 1983 Nominated
Filmfare Best Actor Award Masoom 1984 Won
Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award Katha 1984 Nominated
Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award Mandi 1984 Nominated
Filmfare Best Actor Award Sparsh 1985 Nominated
Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award Sir 1994 Nominated
Filmfare Best Villain Award Mohra 1995 Nominated
Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award Naajayaz 1996 Nominated
Filmfare Best Villain Award Chaahat 1998 Nominated
Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award China Gate 1999 Nominated
Filmfare Best Villain Award Sarfarosh 2000 Nominated
Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award Iqbal 2006 Nominated
Filmfare Best Villain Award Krrish 2007 Nominated
Filmfare Best Actor Award A Wednesday! 2008 Nominated
Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award The Dirty Picture 2012 Nominated
Venice Film Festival
The Volpi Cup (Award for Best Actor) Paar 1984 Won

Other awards

Filmography and writing


  1. ^ a b Shah was born either on 20 July 1949, or on 16 August 1950, though he suspects that the latter date was selected only for official records at the time of his school registration.[1]


  1. ^ a b Shah, Naseeruddin (2014). And then one day: A memoir. Hamish Hamilton. p. 1.  
  2. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  3. ^ Obituary of Idries Shah, The Independent (London) of 26 November 1996.
  4. ^ "Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap – Audience Reviews .. Must Watch .. :) | NG". Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "Naseeruddin Shah". Retrieved 22 September 2009. 
  6. ^ "Still waiting, for Mr Godot".  
  7. ^ Shahab Ansari (4 December 2013). "Naseeruddin Shah says he visited parts of Lahore in disguise". The News International. Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Prachi Pinglay (23 July 2006). "'"Magazine / Interview:`I did all kinds of films. The Hindu. Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "Being Naseer". Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  10. ^ Mahatma Vs. GandhiA review of the play
  11. ^
  12. ^ "IndiaToday". Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  13. ^ "Karadi tales". The Hindu. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  14. ^ "pahele is a revelation". Rediff. 
  15. ^ "Does Naseeruddin Shah’s first marriage and divorce scare his second wife Ratna?".  
  16. ^ Tags: (17 August 2009). "Did you know why Heeba Shah agreed to play the role of the young Daadisa?". Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  17. ^ "Naseeruddin Shah's son falls off train". The Times of India. 24 November 2006. 
  • "Mission theatre, Waar on mind". The Telegraph India. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 

External links

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