Padma Bhushan - Check, Padma Shri - Check, National Awards (three of them!) Check, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award - Check. Multiple awards at other platforms - check . One would imagine Naseeruddin Shah’s award trophies proudly showcased in his house, but the actor surprises us when he says that he doesn’t even look at them.
“I have put them (awards) in my cupboard and forgotten them. They don’t influence me as an actor. They are of no use to me at all. I have had my fill of these awards and they mean nothing to me. What matters to me is a stranger coming up to me, shaking hands and saying, ‘thank you for what you have done’,” says Shah, who won critical acclaim for his performance in Waiting that released last month.
However, the 66-year-old says that he does not care about what the critics and the film industry think about him. “Critics’ opinion or the film industry’s opinion doesn’t matter to me. What I value is when people, who I don’t know, come up to me and tell me that they like my work. That is the most precious award. I consider any taxi driver’s opinion as precious as a critic’s opinion. In fact, I take the taxi driver’s opinion more seriously. They are not pretending and they have spent their precious 150 on me,” says the actor.
Shah, who has always chosen unconventional roles and backed content-driven cinema, says that he did not set out to do such films when he entered the industry in 1975.
“I did not choose to become an arty film actor. I would have danced and sang if offered to me. I would have done it very badly, but would have still done it. I always wanted to be a popular actor. Nobody becomes an actor to serve art. You become an actor because you want to be famous and rich, you want people to look at you and like you,” he says.