When Naseeruddin Shah’s bad looks were a blessing in disguise

“My girlfriend had left me saying I wasn’t as good looking as needed for Bollywood films. Infact I was bad looking. But Shyam Benegal offered me my debut because of the same reason. It suited his hero’s character,” Shah said at the Jaipur Literature Festival here today. Shah had starred in the National Award winning film whose storyline is based on a schoolteacher who is powerless to prevent his wife’s abduction at the hands of tyrannical landowners.

“The movie which starred Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil didn’t need much dramatic efforts from me and I thought that was the reason why I was casted in the movie in the first place,” he said. The actor said despite the success of the film, it failed to generate ‘further work for me in the industry’.

The 66-year old actor admitted that he had fallen short of work during his phase between Nishant and Manthan, also a Hindi film directed by Benegal in 1976.  

The actor was in conversation with playright and author Girish Karnad in a session titled And Then One day, which is also the title of his autobiography.
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