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Biography
Though widely regarded as an icon of New Indian Cinema (i.e., Indian arthouse films, to be distinguished from populist Bollywood efforts), distinct performer Naseeruddin Shah unveiled a remarkable ability, like fellow countryman Amitabh Bachchan, to segue between elegant arthouse fare and more explicitly commercial fare with little effort. Born in 1950, Shah received his formal educational training at the National School of Drama in Delhi, then moved into acting work; he was discovered by director Shyam Benegal and came to specialize in understated on-screen gestures and emotional states that helped him go hand in glove with equally subtle, intelligent directors including not only Benegal (Manthan and Bhumika, 1976), but Saeed Mirza (Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai, 1980),Sai Paranjpye (Sparsh, 1979), and Mrinal Sen (Khandar, 1984). In time, Shah expanded his repertoire to occasionally include colorful Hollywood projects such as Monsoon Wedding (2001) and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) (as a grizzled, retired old Captain Nemo, opposite Sean Connery and others). Nevertheless, he spent most of his screen time in Indian productions. In 2007, Shah gained increased crossover attention with a rare lead, as a Muslim-raised member of Scotland Yard investigating a terrorist incident in the Indian-produced thriller Shoot on Sight.

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