Naseeruddin Shah is more than a Bollywood actor. He’s a force that commands your attention, he’s an artist who continuously fuels fire in the world of theater, he’s a rebel who refused the Bollywood superstardom and chose a life of authenticity over manufactured images.
There’s little or no doubt in saying that Naseeruddin Shah is India’s best actor. But he’s so much more than an actor. He’s a storyteller who writes stories, directs plays and experiences life without the shield of PR.
As a homage to Naseer saab’s tendency to give us something new every time he’s on screen, we bring you 6 things about him that no one knows about.
1. He was offered to play Saddam Hussain
Sounds too good to be true, but back in 2011, Naseer saab was offered to pay the role of the Iraqi dictator in a biopic by director Nalin Singh. There were also rumors of a big Hollywood studio being interested in Naseeruddin Shah for the role of Saddam Hussain in another biopic.
It would have been very interesting to see if things had materialized.
2. The makers of Harry Potter wanted to audition Naseeruddin Shah for the role of Albus Dumbledore
As fairy-tale-y as it sounds, it’s true. After the legendary Richard Harris passed away having played Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter movies, the makers wanted to explore diversity for the role and were keen on Naseer saab to give an audition for the role.
Naseer saab however refused to audition for the part as he did not want to. If only, if only!
3. He was the first choice to play Gandhi before Ben Kingsley in the epic film Gandhi
All of 32 at the time, Naseeruddin Shah had interested the legendary filmmaker Richard Attenborough and earned a ticket to London for auditioning for the role. According to Naseer, he knew Ben Kingsley was going to get the role when he saw Kingsley’s audition.
4. He was the original choice to play the role of Khambatta in last year’s film Bombay Velvet.
Despite the fate of the film, Karan Johar’s portrayal as Khambatta was highly appreciated. This role was written for Naseeruddin Shah.
5. He has admitted to smoking marijuana
In his brutally honest biography, the actor admitted to having consumed marijuana or ganja in various phases of his life and credits it with giving him clarity of thought.
As the world today fights a battle for the legalization of marijuana, Naseeruddin Shah’s un-manufactured confession is commendable.
6. He has a 45-year-old daughter from his first marriage at the age of 19.
During his late teens, Naseeruddin Shah was in a passionate love affair with Parveen Murad, also known as Manara Sikri, a 34-year-old Pakistani who was studying medicine at Aligarh Muslim University at that time.
However, things began to fall apart when Naseeruddin Shah had to move to Delhi to the National School of Drama. His daughter from the first marriage is also an actor by the name of Heeba Shah.