Jump to content

Naseeruddin Shah

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Naseeruddin Shah
Shah in 2012
Born (1950-07-20) 20 July 1950 (age 73)
Alma materFilm and Television Institute of India
National School of Drama
Aligarh Muslim University
  • Actor
  • director
Years active1972–present
Spouse(s)Parveen Murad, also known as Manara Sikri (deceased)
(m. 1982)
ChildrenHeeba, Imaad, Vivaan
RelativesShah family
HonoursPadma Bhushan
Padma Shri
Naseeruddin Shah Signature

Naseeruddin Shah (born 20 July 1950) is an Indian actor. He is notable in Indian parallel cinema and has starred in various international productions.[1][2] He has won numerous awards in his career, including three National Film Awards, three Filmfare Awards and the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan awards for his contributions to Indian cinema.[3]

In 1982, he married his second wife, actress Ratna Pathak, daughter of actress Dina Pathak, with whom he has two sons. His sister-in-law is actress Supriya Pathak, who is married to actor Pankaj Kapur.

Early life[edit]

Naseeruddin Shah was born on 20 July 1950 in Barabanki town, Uttar Pradesh, into a Nawab family.[4] His great-great-grandfather was the Afghan warlord Jan-Fishan Khan, who would go on to become the Nawab of Sardhana. His relatives include Ikbal Ali Shah, Amina Shah, Omar Ali-Shah and Idries Shah.[5]

Shah attended St. Anselm's Ajmer school and St Joseph's College, Nainital. He graduated in arts from Aligarh Muslim University in 1971 and attended National School of Drama in Delhi.[citation needed]

His elder brother, Lt. General Zameerud-din Shah[6] (Retd.) PVSM, SM, VSM, had a distinguished career in the military, having served as Deputy Chief of the Army Staff of the Indian Army, and later was appointed a member of the Armed Forces Tribunal and also Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University.[7][8]


Shah has acted in films 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, and Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro.[9] He made his debut with a small role in film Aman (1967) starring Rajendra Kumar and Saira Banu.

Shah became active in mainstream Bollywood cinema with the 1980 film Hum Paanch. In 1982, he acted in the film Dil Aakhir Dil Hai directed by Ismail Shroff, opposite Rakhee. One of his most important films, Masoom, was released in 1983[10] and was shot at St Joseph's College, Nainital. His next major success in mainstream films was the 1986 multi-star film Karma where he acted alongside veteran Dilip Kumar. Starring roles for films such as Ijaazat (1987), Jalwa (1988) and Hero Hiralal (1989) 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 acted with Aditya Pancholi in films like Maalamaal (1988) and Game (1993).

He has acted in several multi-star 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 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, Shah played Mahatma Gandhi in Kamal Haasan's Hey Ram[11] which focused on the assassination of Gandhi from the assailant's point of view.

Shah played Mohit, the drunken coach to a deaf and mute boy in Iqbal. Shah was noted for his roles in the 1999 Aamir Khan-starrer Sarfarosh, where he played Gulfam Hassan – a ghazal singer-cum-terrorist mastermind — and in Neeraj Pandey's A Wednesday (2008).

Shah has also starred in international projects, such as Monsoon Wedding in 2001 and a Hollywood adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003 (co-starring Sean Connery), where he played 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 Vishal Bhardwaj's Indian adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth, titled Maqbool, in 2003, 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). Shah played a pivotal role in Today's Special, Aasif Mandvi's 2009 independent comedy film. In 2011, Shah was seen in The Dirty Picture. He acted in Anup Kurian's The Blueberry Hunt, playing a recluse growing marijuana in his forest retreat, and in Waiting, starring opposite Kalki Koechlin, both of which were released in 2016.

Shah 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[edit]

Shah has performed 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.[citation needed]

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, Irrfan Khan, then-newcomer Ayesha Takia, his son Imaad Shah and his old friend Ravi Baswani.[12]

Other media and art forms[edit]

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

In 1977, Shah, 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.[13]

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.[14]

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.[15]

In mid 1990s, Shah also hosted some episodes of science magazine programme Turning Point.[16]

In 1999, he acted as a special agent in the TV series Tarkash on Zee TV. He played a retired agent haunted by nightmares who is re-inducted as he apparently knows something about a dreaded terrorist somehow connected with his past. He played the villain with the dual identity of a ghazal singer and a Pakistani spy who supports terrorism in India in Sarfarosh (1999).[17] He was the first of several celebrity actors, who played narrator in the popular audiobook series for kids Karadi Tales.[18] He along with wife Ratna was the narrator in the film Paheli — the Indian entry to the 2006 Academy Awards.[19]

In 2017, Shah returned to film, starring in Shakespearean adaption The Hungry, screened under special presentations at the Toronto International Film Festival 2017.[20] He also acted as lead in The Coffin Maker directed by Veena Bakshi, which however never got released in public but only remained for private viewership.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Shah with wife Ratna Pathak at Gangs of Wasseypur screening in 2012

Shah was married to Manara Sikri and had a daughter, Heeba, with her. In the 1970s, Shah met and fell in love with Ratna Pathak, the daughter of Dina Pathak, a well-respected character actress. During the 70s and 80s they co-starred in several films, including Mirch Masala and The Perfect Murder.[22] They were in a live-in relationship for many years, while Shah put together the mehr required to divorce Manara. Shah and Pathak were finally married in 1982.[23] Manara died the same year due to undisclosed reasons. By his second marriage, Shah has two sons, Imaad and Vivaan, both of whom are actors. The couple lives in Mumbai with Heeba, Imaad and Vivaan.[24]


Awards and nominations[edit]

Civilian Awards[edit]

Film awards[edit]

Year Category Nominated work Result
1979 Best Actor Sparsh Won
1984 Paar Won
2006 Best Supporting Actor Iqbal Won
1980 Best Supporting Actor Junoon Nominated
1981 Best Actor Aakrosh Won
1982 Chakra Won
1983 Bazaar Nominated
1984 Masoom Won
Best Supporting Actor Katha Nominated
Mandi Nominated
1985 Best Actor Sparsh Nominated
1994 Best Supporting Actor Sir Nominated
1995 Best Performance in a Negative Role Mohra Nominated
1996 Best Supporting Actor Naajayaz Nominated
1997 Best Performance in a Negative Role Chaahat Nominated
1999 Best Supporting Actor China Gate Nominated
2000 Best Performance in a Negative Role Sarfarosh Nominated
2006 Best Supporting Actor Iqbal Nominated
2007 Best Performance in a Negative Role Krrish Nominated
2008 Best Actor A Wednesday! Nominated
2012 Best Supporting Actor The Dirty Picture Nominated
2021 Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Bandish Bandits Nominated
Best Actor in a Web Original Film Mee Raqsam Nominated
2000 Best Performance in a Negative Role Sarfarosh Won
2006 Best Supporting Actor Iqbal Nominated
2008 Best Performance in a Negative Role Mithya Nominated
2009 Best Actor A Wednesday! Nominated
2011 Best Performance in a Negative Role Allah Ke Banday Nominated
2012 The Dirty Picture Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2015 Finding Fanny Nominated
1986 Best Actor (Hindi) Paar Won
2006 Best Supporting Actor (Hindi) Iqbal Won
1984 Volpi Cup for Best Actor Paar Won

Other awards[edit]


In an interview with HT Brunch, Shah speaks about having thought about an autobiography for almost 10 years. He penned down his thoughts occasionally during this period until he finally came up with 100-odd pages. What had started as an amusing pastime had clearly grown into something much deeper. He then presented the unfinished version to his friend, historian Ramchandra Guha, who encouraged Shah to complete it and send it to a publication house.[25] Shah's memoir is titled And Then One Day, and was published by Hamish Hamilton.[26]


  1. ^ "Naseeruddin Shah says essential for Muslims to stop feeling persecuted, assert claim on India". The Indian Express. 2 June 2017. Archived from the original on 2 June 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Naseeruddin Shah: The Angel of Chaos". Journal of Indian Cinema. 20 July 2020. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  3. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 October 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  4. ^ Italo Spinelli (2002). Indian Summer: Films, Filmmakers and Stars Between Ray and Bollywood. Edizioni Oliveras. p. 144. ISBN 9788885982680. Archived from the original on 7 July 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Bollywood wishes Naseeruddin Shah on 70th birthday: You continue to inspire us". The Indian Express. 20 July 2020. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  6. ^ "Former GOC 3 corps in VP race". Nagaland Page. 9 May 2017. Archived from the original on 25 August 2017.
  7. ^ "People's Vice Presidential Candidate". State Herald. 12 May 2017. Archived from the original on 17 May 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  8. ^ "High speculation former GOC 3 Corps VP". Morung Express. 10 May 2017. Archived from the original on 1 July 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Naseeruddin Shah". IMDb. Archived from the original on 20 January 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2009.
  10. ^ "Shekhar Kapur says people wanted him to change Masoom script. Just another copy, retorts Internet". India Today. 2 August 2019. Archived from the original on 20 July 2020. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  11. ^ Vetticad, Anna M. M. "Naseeruddin Shah gets to play Mahatma Gandhi twice". India Today. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  12. ^ "Yun Hota.. the Rediff review". www.rediff.com. Archived from the original on 1 March 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  13. ^ "Still waiting, for Mr Godot". The Indian Express. 21 August 1997. Archived from the original on 24 April 2008.
  14. ^ Ansari, Shahab (4 December 2013). "Naseeruddin Shah says he visited parts of Lahore in disguise". The News International. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  15. ^ Roychoudhary, Amborish (7 March 2013). "Being Naseer". Filmware. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  16. ^ "Turning Point makes a comeback with new host and producer". India Today. Archived from the original on 18 August 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  17. ^ "Not returning awards as they mean nothing to me: Naseeruddin Shah". The Indian Express. 6 November 2015. Archived from the original on 8 November 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  18. ^ "Karadi tales". The Hindu. 5 June 2000. Archived from the original on 3 September 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  19. ^ "Pahele is a revelation". Rediff. 27 June 2005. Archived from the original on 3 September 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  20. ^ "The Hungry Trailer: Naseeruddin Shah". HindustanTimes. 23 August 2017. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  21. ^ Bakshi, Veena, The Coffin Maker (Drama), Shree Narayan Studios, retrieved 27 January 2023
  22. ^ "Naseeruddin Shah's son falls off train". The Times of India. 24 November 2006. Archived from the original on 12 December 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  23. ^ "Does Naseeruddin Shah's first marriage and divorce scare his second wife Ratna?". Stardust. 29 July 2013. Archived from the original on 15 September 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  24. ^ "Lipstick Under My Burkha actor Ratna Pathak Shah shares a moment in time from when she dated Naseeruddin Shah". The Indian Express. 30 July 2017. Archived from the original on 19 January 2018. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  25. ^ "8 things Naseeruddin Shah's autobiography 'Then One Day' tells us about the man". Firstpost. 12 September 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  26. ^ Shah, Naseeruddin (2014). And then one day: A memoir. Hamish Hamilton. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-670-08764-8.

External links[edit]