Many believe that the Hindi film industry produced its gems only during its early decades, namely during its 'Golden Era'. But that doesn't fit in the mold of truth. We are still fortunate enough to have outstanding artists in the industry, who deliver an excellent quality of work. Well, Naseeruddin Shah is certainly one of the kind.
Naseeruddin Shah, without any further doubt is an excellent actor as well as a director in the industry and has contributed greatly to the parallel cinema in the country. He is credited for winning several awards for his outstanding performances.
He was born in the town of Barabanki in U.P on 20th July 1950. Being a native of Sardhana town of Meerut district in U.P, his father was an officer in the Indian Army. He finished his schooling from the St. Anselm's in Ajmer and his college education from St Joseph's College in Nainital. He graduated from the Aligarh Muslim University in the year 1971 and also attended the National School of Drama in Delhi.
He was first married to Manara Sikri, stepsister of the famous actress Surekha Sikri. Heeba Manara Shah (Heeba Shah) is his daughter from her. After Manara's death, he married actress Ratna Pathak (Ratna Pathak Shah) in the year 1982. Imaad and the younger Vivaan are his sons from Ratna.
His debut came with 'Dil Aakhir Dil Hai', where he starred opposite to Rakhee Gulzar (Rakhee). He entered the mainstream Hindi cinema in the year 1980, with the film 'Hum Paanch'. However, his 1983 film 'Masoom' was a critical success. Soon in the 80s, he was seen in films such as 'Gulami' (1985) 'Karma' (1986), 'Ijaazat' (1987), 'Jalwa' ,'Hero Hiralal' ( both 1988) and 'Tridev' (1989). He also acted in an English film by Merchant Ivory, titled 'The Perfect Murder'. He played the role of inspector Ghote in the film.
He forged in the 90s with 'Vishwatma' in 1992. He played the lead negative role in the 1994 film 'Mohra'. This was his 100th film. In the same year, he made his debut in Malayalam Cinema in 'Pontham Mada' by T.V. Chandran. His role as a Pakistani Ghazal singer-terrorist in 'Sarfarosh' was widely appreciated. In the year 2000, he played the role of Mahatma Gandhi in 'Hey Ram' by Kamal Haasan, which was a critically acclaimed film. In 2004, his role as a cricket coach for a deaf mute young boy in the film 'Iqbal' was appreciated by critics. The film too was a success. More importantly, his acting in the 2008 terror drama 'A Wednesday!', by Neeraj Pandey was not only worth noticing but also critically appreciated.
Apart from Bollywood, he was also seen in parallel cinema in India. He was seen in the 2001 family drama 'Monsoon Wedding'. He also acted in Shakespeare's Macbeth inspired 2004 film 'Maqbool'. He was also seen in the film 'The Great New Wonderful' in 2005. He also had a small stint in Hollywood with the film 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen', where he played the role of Captain Nemo. His latest film was 'The Dirty Picture' where he starred opposite Vidya Balan who is much younger than him.
Apart from films, he has also worked in theatre and drama plays. In 1988, he acted in the a T.V play based on Mirza Ghalib, aired on Doordarshan National and which was directed by the famous Gulzar. In the following year, he also played the role of Shivaji, the popular Maratha ruler, in the T.V series 'Bharat Ek Khoj'. He played the role of Pozzo in the Samuel Beckett play, 'Waiting For Godot', made by the Motley Productions. He played the role of Mahatma Gandhi in the 1998 play 'Mahatma vs Gandhi'. In the year 1999, he was seen in the Zee T.V series 'Tarkash', which is about a retired secret service agent. He is also a lifetime member of the International Film And Television Club of Asian Academy of Film & Television.
The talented actor also acted along with his wife Ratna Pathak (Ratna Pathak Shah) in films such as 'Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na' and 'Mirch Masala'. His upcoming film is 'The Hunt' where he will be seen as a marijuana grower.