Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah on Thursday said he has ticked mark almost all the roles he wanted to play in his acting career that spans over 45 years.
Regarded as a stalwart in Hindi cinema, Shah has delivered many critically-acclaimed performances in movies such as Nishant, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, Mandi, Sparsh, Woh Saat Din, Sarfarosh, A Wednesday, Maqbool, Ishqiya, and many others.
“I have done almost everything that I decided to do as an actor, I don’t really have any such desires left,” the 71-year-old actor said.
He also worked on the small screen through DD programmes Bharat: Ek Khoj with frequent collaborator Shyam Benegal and Mirza Ghalib in the late 1980s. In 2006, Shah made his feature directorial debut with Yun Hota To Kya Hota.
“I want to be part of projects which will be fun and I feel have a chance of being remembered, which says something more than just a simple story. I have had plenty of opportunities in my career for which I am extremely grateful,” he added.
An acclaimed theatre artist, he has directed plays written by Lavender Kumar, Ismat Chughtai and Saadat Hasan Manto. He also runs the theatre group, Motley Productions, which is co-founded with Tom Alter and Benjamin Gilani in 1977. Keeping up with the times, Shah made his debut in the digital space with 2020 Amazon series Bandish Bandits.
Now, he is gearing up for the premiere of Kaun Banegi Shikharwati, another web series.
The multiple award winning-actor was speaking at the virtual trailer launch of “Kaun Banegi Shikharwati”, billed as a “unique take on a dysfunctional royal family”.
The dramedy features Shah in the role of a King, while actors Lara Dutta Bhupathi, Soha Ali Khan, Kritika Kamra and Anya Singh play his daughters.
The veteran, who graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in the late 1970s, revealed that the brightest acting student in his batch was Shakti Kapoor.
Shah, also an alumnus of the National School of Drama (NSD), said he is grateful to his long-running innings in Hindi cinema as many at the FTII believed he would not succeed in the industry. “When I was studying at the film institute, I was this student who was given the least chance of succeeding in the film industry.
“As it turned out, I am one of the few who has survived from the class. I am one of the two, the other is Shakti Kapoor. It is not a joke, it is a fact. Shakti was one of the best students in the class and I was the back bencher,” he told reporters.
Kaun Banegi Shikharwati also stars Raghubir Yadav, Cyrus Sahukar, Varun Thakur and Anurag Sinha in key roles.
Dutta, who was seen earlier this year in the Akshay Kumar-starrer BellBottom, said the series offered her an opportunity to play a new character.
“Devyani is the eldest of all sisters, she has her reasons of being the way that she is. She is a perfectionist, and is pretty hard on herself. I love the fact that I got the opportunity of playing such a gamut of roles and versatility coming my way as an actor.
“When I heard this story, it just took me two episodes to say yes to this. Why would not I want to be a part of this show when there is such a stellar, incredible ensemble cast. Naseer and Raghubir sir were on my wish list for a long time. That was my number one reason to say yes,” she added.
Produced by Applause Entertainment in association with Emmay Entertainment the series is directed by Gauravv Chawla of “Baazaar” fame and Ananya Banerjee.
Kaun Banegi Shikharwati will premiere on ZEE5 on January 7.