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When Shabana Azmi called Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri ‘badshakal’: ‘Actor banne ki jurrat kaise hui?’

Naseeruddin Shah recalled a comment by Shabana Azmi when the Arth actor called him and Om Puri 'badshakal'.

om puri, naseeruddin shahOm Puri and Naseeruddin Shah spoke about how Shabana Azmi found them 'badshakal'.
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Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri started their careers in the so-called parallel cinema of the time and soon became icons of the Indian film industry. When the actors started their career, they were not seen as particularly good-looking by the conventional standards and both actors were very aware of how the world saw them. In fact, Naseeruddin Shah once spoke about how Shabana found them “badshakal” (ugly) and was shocked as to how they dared to take up the acting profession.

In a chat with Anupam Kher on The Anupam Kher Show, where Naseer and Om were guests, Naseer recalled that when Shabana saw a photograph of the two actors from their NSD days, her reaction was, “Do itne badshakal insaan, kaise yeh jurrat kar sakte hain actor banne ki? (How dare two such ugly people dream of becoming actors?)” Om added, “Himmat kaise hui tumhari yahan aane ki? (How dare you come here?)”

When Anupam asked Naseer if he ever had any complex about his looks, the Maoom actor said, “Of course, I had a complex. Although by then, actors like Shatrughan Sinha and Amitabh Bachchan had appeared on the scene. They were just not pretty faces, they had the gravitas of playing character roles as well. And I knew that I did not look like a film star. I had difficulty accepting it but I was able to live with it.”

He continued, “But I realised that I had the advantage of changing my face. And as far as handsomeness is concerned, I knew that you are as handsome as you feel.” He added, “I think it’s really a question of confidence.”

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Naseer and Shabana shared screen space in films like Masoom, Sparsh, Mandi, Nishant, among many others.

First published on: 08-12-2022 at 15:09 IST
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