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Naseeruddin Shah is known as an Indian film actor and director. The talented artist is a legend with his work in not just Hindi but Bengali, Urdu, Kannada, Tamil and English. He is one of the few actors of his time who was thoroughly trained in the arts and held a degree in acting.
Shah is most widely known for his powerful roles and has won tons of awards throughout his career—he has even been honored by the Government of India with the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards.
The actor turns 66 this year, and to celebrate his birthday, here are some things you may or may not know about him!
1. Family & Background
Shah was born into a Muslim family and has three brothers. He is an Indian citizen and grew up in Barabanki, which is in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Shah got his degree from Aligarh Muslim University in 1971—which, if you remember, is where the movie “Mere Mehboob” was shot. He also attended the National School of Drama in Delhi.
3. International Films
Shah is internationally known for is work. Shah played Captain Nemo in “The League of Extraordinary Gentleman.” He acted in “Monsoon Wedding,” and made his Pakistani film debut with “Khuda Ke Liye.”
4. Best Known Films
Shah is best known for his films “Nishant,” “Aakrosh,” “Sparsh,” “Masoom,” “Mirch Masala,” “Junoon,” “Ishqiya,” “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro,” “Woh Saat Din,” “Main Hoon Na,” “Krrish,” “Omkara,” “Maharathi,” and “Bolo Raam” to name a few. He has acted in over 100 films. Shah prefers to work in films that have meaning over large star-studded casts. He not only takes on masala filled Bollywood flicks but artistic alternative films too.
Shah directed his first film which was released in 2006, entitled “Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota.”
Shah has been married twice. His first marriage was to Manara Sikri when he was 19 and she was 36. Within the first year of marriage, they had a child named Heeba; however, the marriage quickly fell apart. Shah was not allowed to see his daughter until she sought Shah out as an adult. Shah gotmarried again in 1982 to Ratna Pathak and had two sons, Imaad and Vivaan. All 3 of his children live with him and his wife in Mumbai.
Shah has written a memoir called, “And Then One Day.”
Shah wants actors to have other interests beyond film and themselves. He believes the best actors are ones who can talk about a wide range of interests like horseback riding and mountain climbing.
He also encourages people to have confidence and a determination when pursuing their dreams and to only think about success. In other words, failure is not an option. Shah also encourages young actors not to categorize acting into over and under acting but rather says to focus on what’s required for the type of work you are given.
Shah isn’t afraid to speak his mind and call out celebrities like Anupam Kher and Anurag Kashyap. He called out Kher for Kher’s support of Kashmir and Kashyap for making a star-studded film, “Bombay Velvet.”
Shah was close friends with actor Rajesh Vivek, known for his work as Guran in “Lagaan.” The two attended the same drama school and have acted in films like “Junoon” together. Vivek died earlier this year of a heart attack.