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Naseeruddin Shah Biography

Naseeruddin Shah is a film actor of the Indian film industry who is successful in both mainstream movies as well as in art films. He was born on 20th July 1950 in Delhi. He graduated from the Aligarh Muslim University with arts. He passed from the National School of Drama in 1973 and in the same year he enrolled in the Film and Television Institute of India.

He married Ratna Pathak Shah and has a daughter Heeba Manara Shah. Both his wife and daughter have also graduated from the National School of Drama.

In 1975, Shyam Benegal offered Naseeruddin Shah a role in Nishant, which was his debut film. He soon established himself as an excellent actor. He even won the National Film Award for Best Actor in 1979 for the role of a blind man played by him in the film Sparsh and also for the film Paar in 1985. During this period many young directors were making art films. This was like a movement and he participated in it with actors Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil and Om Puri in the films like Bhumika (1977), Bhavni Bhavai (1980), Ardh Satya (1982) and Mirch Masala (1986). His versatility as an actor can be confirmed by the wide variety of roles he has played in films like Mixed Doubles (2006), Valley of Flowers (2006), Parzania (2005), 3 Deewarein (2003), Guru Mahaaguru (2001), Gaja Gamini (2000), China Gate (1998), Agnichakra (1997), Droh Kaal (1994), Vishwatma (1992) and many more.

Naseeruddin Shah also acted in mainstream movies, with Karma in 1986 as one of its heroes. This was followed by films such as Ijaazat (1987), Jalwa (1988) and Hero Hiralal (1988), where he played the lead role. He has acted in supporting roles in films such as Tridev (1989) and Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1993). In the film Mohra, Sarfarosh and Krissh, he played a negative character. He has starred in few international projects such as Monsoon Wedding and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He worked in an Indian adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, titled Maqbool and another adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello, titled Omkara. Naseeruddin Shah won three Filmfare Best Actor Award, for the film Aakrosh (1980), Chakra (1981),and Masoom (1983). In 2003, he was felicitated with India’s third highest civilian award Padma Bhushan.

Naseeruddin Shah established a theatre group along with Tom Alter and Benjamin Gilani and called it Motley Productions. Their first play was staged at Prithvi Theatre on July 29, 1979, and was based on Samuel Beckett’s novel Waiting for Godot. One of his memorable performances was in the television series Mirza Ghalib, which was based on the life of this legendary Urdu poet. In 1989, he performed the role of the Maratha King Shivaji in the television series Bharat ek Khoj directed by Shyam Benegal and based on Jawaharlal Nehru’s book The Discovery of India. In the play Mahatma Vs. Gandhi, he played the role of Mahatma Gandhi which was actually about Mahatma’s relation with Harilal Gandhi, his first son. In 2000, he again got the chance to portray the character of Mahatma in the film Hey Ram.

In 2006, his Yun Hota To Kya Hota, was released, which was Naseeruddin Shah’s debut film as a director.


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