While the world goes gaga over thespian Dilip Kumar’s histrionics as an actor par excellence, readers would be aware that Dilip Kumar himself considers Naseeruddin Shah as a competent actor. However what may stun the readers is that Dilip Kumar, who admires Shah as an exceptional actor had actually recommended Naseeruddin Shah to refrain from a career in Bollywood, when Shah had run away from his hometown and wandered in streets of Mumbai seeking roles in movies.
Few know that Naseeruddin Shah comes from a highly respected family. His father was one of the administrators of the revered Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishti Dargah in Ajmer, hence when Naseer expressed his desire to join films he was very angry and this created a gulf between the father and son.
Recalling his early interaction with Dilip Kumar, Naseeruddin Shah in his recently released autobiography ‘AND THEN ONE DAY’, writes that when at the young age of 16 years he run away to Mumbai he had hard times surviving in Mumbai. To support himself he was compelled to become an extra in Bollywood movies for a paltry sum of Rs.7.50 and when he found life going tough he had even applied to be a bellboy at Taj Palace hotel, in Mumbai!
Shah reminisces, “While I was struggling to survive in Mumbai my father contacted the only person he knew in Mumbai and that was actor Dilip Kumar's sister, who was an avid devotee of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishti and visited Ajmer Sharif dargah often.”
“Fortunately she spotted me on a pavement and took to me to Dilip Kumar's Pali Hill house. Here I first met Dilip Kumar but instead of encouraging me to join films he gave me a brief sermon advising that boys from cultured film must not join film and recommended me to return hometown.”
Interestingly years later the two great actors shared screen together in Subhash Ghai’s super hit film KARMA and created magic.