There are certain actors who are absolutely terrific in whichever roles they choose! Today, we celebrate a man who has always been able to carry off anything with style, from delivering witty dialogues of masala movie to dancing in a photo frame, from a drunken cricket coach to a man with a bomb. (Source) Naseeruddin Shah is an is an Indian film, stage actor and also a director! Name it and he has done it all!

Shah has won numerous awards in his career, including three National Film Awards, three Filmfare Awards and an award at the Venice Film Festival. The Government of India has honored him with the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan for his contributions to Indian cinema.


While he has enacted in more than 100 films, I decided to choose the top 5 roles which I absolutely loved!

1. Jaane bhi do yaaro

Jaane bhi do yaaro

Shot in 1983, the comic satire touched every possible social issue prevalent at that time. Land Acquisition, Bribing, Municipal Official, Low-Quality Product Usage in Public Construction etc. Although it’s a journey of two struggling photographers, the satire in dialogues and presentation of characters are the key point that makes it worth watching. This was his first film with a  comic role and it was loved by everyone.

The real attraction is the situations created in the movie where every character tries to complete their task by any means and comedy of errors just take place with right timing.

2. Masoom


The movie has Naseeruddin as a family man. The storyline moves from how a family gets broken because of an extramarital affair the lead had during his early marriage days. The tranquillity of their life is interrupted when DK (the hero) receives word that he has a son, the result of an affair. The movie was way ahead of its time.

The film starred Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi in lead roles along with TanujaSupriya Pathak, and Saeed Jaffrey. It features Jugal Hansraj, Aradhana and Urmila Matondkar as child actors.

3. Iqbal


The story is about a cricket-obsessed deaf and mute boy from a remote Indian village as he aims to overcome barriers to become a cricketer and fulfills his dream of playing for the Indian cricket team. He was coached by none other than a drunk cricketer played by Naseeruddin. The film received the National Film Award for Best Film on ‘Other Social Issues’.

4. A Wednesday


The film depicts an about-to-retire police commissioner narrating a sequence of events that unfolded on a particular Wednesday. The awareness of the incident exists only in his mind and in those of several individuals who were involved, willingly and unwillingly, and how those events affected the lives of all the concerned people. Naseeruddin played a phenomenal character in this movie. He was the ‘aam aadmi‘, who decided that terrorism has taken too much from the lives of common people, and decides to take law into his own hands.

5. Sparsh


It stars Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi playing the characters of a visually impaired principal and a sighted teacher in a school for the blind, where they fall in love. The film remains most memorable for the subtle acting his, plus the handling of the issue of relationships with the visually handicapped was brilliantly epitomized by the characters. The film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.

6. Bazaar


The movie showed the plight of Muslim women in Hyderabad that were forced into the practice of ‘bride buying’ for rich men from the Gulf countries. Naseeruddin Shah brilliantly plays the role of Salim, a poet in love with a married woman Najma played by Smitha Patil.

7. Mirch Masala

mirch masala

This movie brilliantly portrayed the oppression of women in the villages of pre-independence era. Naseeruddin Shah proved his versatility by playing a role of an arrogant, promiscuous and evil Subedar (tax collector) who wants to make Sonbai yield to his sexual desires.

8. Sarfarosh 


The movie garnered immense popularity and was critically acclaimed. In the movie,  Aamir Khan played a role of Supercop. Shah, on the other hand, played the role of a singer cum Indo-Pak terrorist, Gulfam Hassan. Shah portrayed a role of a person who was torn between two countries after the partition. He expressed the pain of not being accepted as an insider of the country quite beautifully.

Which are your favorite films of Naseeruddin?