Naseeruddin Shah, the Realistic Cinema Prodigy


Published on 20 July 2016 8:19 AM GMT

Naseeruddin Shah, the Realistic Cinema Prodigy
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Lucknow: "Age is an issue of mind over matter and if you don't mind it does not matter." The quote truly describes the spirit of veteran actors of Indian cinema and Naseeruddin Shah, who has entertained us for over three decades and is still doing so, is one of them.

The actor, who considered himself a 'fool' for a long period in his life and never considered academics to hold any worth, is today, the uncrowned king of realistic Cinema and one of the finest actors in the nation. His films 'A Wednesday', 'Iqbal', 'Mandi', 'Hey Ram', 'Sarfarosh', 'Ishqiya' and 'Aakrosh' have received widespread critical acclaim and the legendary actor is also widely appreciated for his roles in Hollywood films such as 'The Perfect Murder' and 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'.


Though the actor's bag is full of appreciation for his acting in Hindi Film industry, Shah in an interview admitted to not being a fan of Bollywood. Owing to his Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and National School of Drama (NSD) background, the actor had once said that he puts more value to onstage acting.

Wishing him a Happy Birthday, brings you some of his best performances from his true and eternal love, 'Theatre'.

Naseeruddin Shah's best five theatre performances:

Waiting for Godot:

naser9 Shah as Puzzo in the Play 'Waiting for Godot'

  • The absurdist play, written in 1948 by Samuel Beckett, was first staged in 1953, in Paris and has evolved over time along with the actors.
  • Shah directed the two-act production and himself played the role of Pozzo, the bullying master who wanted to sell his slave Lucky on the first day and as the roles are reversed on the second day, he becomes the slave and Lucky becomes the master.
  • Pozzo’s character reflected the ever-changing and transient nature of life. Beckett once explained Pozzo as a person who displayed symptoms of hypomania and the only way to play him was to play him mad and Shah delivered a brilliant performance.

Dear Liar:

naser1 Naseeruddin Shah and Wife Ratna Pathak as Mrs. and Mr. Pat in 'Dear Liar'

  • Dear Liar is an epistolary drama written by American writer Jerome Kilty in the 1960s and its Indian production has been directed by Satyadev Dubey.
  • The play centered on bittersweet love-hate relationship between renowned playwright George Bernard Shaw and the celebrated British actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell and interestingly the role of Shaw was played by Naseeruddin Shah and his wife Ratna Pathak was projected as Mrs. Pat.

Also Read: About the journey of versatile actor Late Zohra Sehgal

Ismat Apa Ke Naam:

naser10 Shah in an Urdu play 'Ismat Apa Ke Naam'

  • Shah has always had a special affinity for the Urdu works of Indian writer Ismat Chughtai, a champion of women’s issues and one of the few Muslim writers who stayed in India after the partition of 1947.
  • Shah has directed “Ismat Apa Ke Naam” which is a collection of three stories, and also acted in it.
  • The play narrates three stories 'Chui Mui', 'Gharwali' and 'Mughal Bacha', which talk about the survival of women in a patriarchal set-up. He has acted in 'Gharwali' where he plays both the roles of the man named Mirza and the woman named Lajjo.
  • Lajjo is a prostitute who is used and discarded by Mirza Sahib and the mannerisms Shah adopts while playing Lajjo are quite a hit with the crowd.

A Walk In The Woods:

naser Naseeruddin Shah during a scene in 'A walk in the Woods'

  • Shah's wife Ratna Pathak has directed the Indian adaptation of the play 'A Walk in the Woods', written by Lee Blessings, in 1988.
  • The play depicts the relationship between an American and a Russian arms negotiators.
  • The Indian version is written by Faisal Rashid and Randeep Hooda; and stars Naseeruddin Shah and Rajit Kapur Pakistani and Indian diplomats Jamaluddin Lutfullah and Ram Chinappa respectively.
  • The play does not involve peace talks, as one would expect, it instead revolves around hollow assurances, false promises,the discord between the countries and the diplomats' long-term relationship.
  • Both Shah and Kapur were applauded for their mind blowing performances in the act.

Also Read: Charlie Chaplin: Overcame sorrow to spread smiles!


naser4 Shah as Einstein in his play

  • The play originally written by Canadian playwright Gabriel Emanuel introduces the auidence with another personality of whom the world know as the science genius Albert Einstein.
  • Shah’s adaptation of the play delves into the human and lighter side to the legendary figure.
  • The play reveals Einstein’ sanger issues, how he dealt with fan mail and how he grappled with the problem of speech failure, also how he was secretly a flirt and the views he held on politics and war.
  • Shah also gets a leg up in this case, as he bears a resemblance to Albert Einstein and his compelling and evocative story-telling skills makes this one-man act an absolute must-watch.

naser3 Happy Birthday!!!!!!! wishes the honourable actor of the Indian realistic Cinema a year full of achievements, well-being and long life ahead.

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