In Bollywood, one rarely comes across an actor, who has successfully dabbled both in art-house and commercial cinema and Naseeruddin Shah is one such finest breed of actors, who has effectively bridged the gap between parallel and mainstream cinema. Be it a period drama, tragedy, comedy or the portrayal of proverbial common man, Naseeruddin Shah has played every role with great deal of conviction. His resounding vocals and highly charged emotional outburst have left a deep impact on the psyche of viewers across all generations.
An accomplished theatre artist, Naseeruddin Shah is a versatile actor who is true to his craft. Here’s wishing a very happy birthday to the powerhouse performer of Bollywood!
A Shayam Benegal film, ‘Nishant’ (1975) was written by noted playwright Vijay Tendulkar, which highlighted sexual exploitation of underprivileged rural women by feudal patriarchy. A National Award winning film, ‘Nishant’ portrayed Vishvam (Naseeruddin Shah), the youngest, submissive brother of authoritative and wicked village Zamindar (Amrish Puri) who is married to Rukmani (Smita Patil) and is in love with the wife of a village schoolmaster Sushila (Shabana Azmi).
A Shyam Benegal film, ‘Junoon’ (1978) is based on author Ruskin Bond’s novella ‘A Flight of Pigeons’. ‘Junoon’ was a period film which was based on the revolt of 1857 where Naseeruddin played Sarfaraz Khan – a valiant revolutionary who fought for India’s independence from the Britishers. The movie also starred Shahi Kapoor, Jennifer Kendel, Shabana Azmi, Tom Alter and Amrish Puri.
Directed by Sai Paranjpye and produced by Basu Bhattacharya, ‘Sparsh’ (1980) is a National Award winning poignant story based on the relationship between a blind principal Anirudh Parmar (Naseeruddin Shah) and a sighted teacher Kavita Prasad (Shabana Azmi). In ‘Sparsh,’ Naseeruddin Shah mesmerized one and all with his touching and emotional performance which fetched him the Best Actor National Award in 1980.
A Govind Nihalani film, ‘Aakrosh’ (1980) is a scathing attack on Indian judiciary system and its inability to protect the poor and the downtrodden from the hands of rich and influential people. Starring Om Puri and Smita Patil as peasants, Naseeruddin Shah played the role of lawyer Bhaskar Kulkarni, who single-handedly tries to bring justice to the poor.
Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai
An art-house film made by Saeed Mirza, ‘Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai’ (1980) featured Naseeruddin Shah as Albert Pinto, a Mumbai based young Christian car mechanic, who derives immense pleasure by driving his rich clients luxury cars. Pinto’s world changes upside-down when his poor father is roughed up for joining strike at work and his brother lands up in jail for stealing food eventually pushing Pinto into activism.
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron
A path-breaking satire on Indian politics, bureaucracy, media and business sector, Kundan Shah’s ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron’ (1983) is a cult film starring Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Baswani as Vinod Chopra and Sudhir Mishra – two idealists who inadvertently get sucked into the vicious circle of corruption, crime and politics. ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron’ was hugely appreciated for its take on contemporary India – the India of 1980s.
A Shekhar Kapoor film, ‘Masoom’ (1983) dealt with extra-marital affairs and lovechild on the silver screen. ‘Masoom’ portrayed Naseeruddin Shah as DK and Shabana Azmi as Indu, a happily married couple with two daughters. However, all hell breaks loose when Indu comes to know of her husband’s infidelity when she comes across his lovechild. A poignant family drama of love and betrayal, Naseeruddin Shah won huge praise for his distinguished performance.
Mohan Joshi Haazir Ho
A Saeed Akhtar Mirza film, ‘Mohan Joshi Haazir Ho’ (1984) is a biting satire on Indian judicial system, where cases run for decades, innocent poor rot while corrupt and influential people are left scot-free. Through Mohan Joshi (Bhisham Sahni), the film highlights the sad plight of Indian middle class and its struggle of survival while Naseeruddin Shah and Rohini Hattangadi are two wily lawyers who don’t mind duping the old couple in the name of justice.
A Ketan Mehta film, ‘Mirch Masala’ (1985) featured Naseeruddin Shah as a wily and arrogant Subedar in colonial India, who levies heavy taxes on illiterate and poor villagers while regularly attacking them for food and supplies. ‘Mirch Masala’ shows Naseeruddin excelling in negative role of a haughty and lusty Subedar, who has eyes on village belle Sonbai.
A Neeraj Pandey film, ‘A Wednesday!’ (2008) was a path breaking film in terms of storyline and presentation. Starring Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher in lead roles, ‘A Wednesday!’ traces a single day in the life of Prakash Rathod, Commissioner of Police and Naseeruddin Shah, who plays the unnamed caller planning to carry out blasts at strategic locations in the financial capital only to invalidate his intentions in the end. ‘A Wednesday!’ is another hard-hitting performance from the stalwart – Naseeruddin Shah.
An Abhishek Chaubey film, ‘Ishqiya’ (2010) based in rustic settings featuring Vidya Balan as Krishna, Naseeruddin Shah as Khalujan and Razzak Hussain as Babban – two small time crooks, who fall to the charms of Krishna – a female fatale and a partner in crime. Check out the romantic side of Naseeruddin Shah as he plays a 51-year-old Khalujan who is up in arms against his nephew Babban as they fight to gain control over Krishna, someone who has her own plans!