Versatile and Multi-talented Indian film, stage actor and director Naseeruddin Shah is a prominent figure in Indian parallel cinema. Born to a Muslim family in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, India, Naseeruddin is a descendant of a 19th-century Sayyid Afghan warlord Jan-Fishan Khan. Shah did his schooling at St. Anselm's Ajmer and St Joseph's College, Nainital. He became active in mainstream Bollywood cinema with the 1980 film Hum Paanch and received acclaim for his performance in Masoom, which was released in 1983 after which his next major success in mainstream films was with the 1986 multi-starrer film Karma. Naseeruddin was catapulted to fame with providing blockbuster performance in movies like Ghulami, Tridev, Vishwatma. In 1977, Shah, Tom Alter and Benjamin Gilani had formed a theatre group called Motley Productions, and their first play was Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot in 1979. Shah was married to actress Surekha Sikri who was already divorced and has a daughter, stage actress Heeba Shah with her. He divorced and promised to provide her financial support. In the 1970s, Shah had met and fallen in love with stage and film actress Ratna Pathak, the daughter of Dina Pathak. During the 70s and 80s, Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak had co-starred in several films like Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na, Mirch Masala and The Perfect Murder. Shah has two sons Imaad and Vivaan with Ratna, who are also aspiring actors and talented musicians.
The Government of India has honored him with the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan awards for his contributions to Indian cinema. Shah has also starred in international projects, such as Monsoon Wedding in 2001 and a Hollywood comic book adaptation The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003.