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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 9.05.11
Naseeruddin Shah

She did a cameo in the serial Balika Vadhu in Colours channel as the younger version of the staunch Dadisa. But Heeba Shah, despite being a star kid, wants to carve a niche for herself in the entertainment arena. Daughter of veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah and his first wife late Parveen Murad, Heeba was in town to perform at the theatre festival called Ekant Ke Rang organised at Kalidas Rangalay. She acted in the play Lihaaf written by Ismat Chugtai that was about a woman who turns lesbian because of her unhappy marital life. In an exclusive interview with t2, Heeba shares her acting experiences as well as snippets of her private life.

Birthday: August 20

Education: Schooling from Learned Academy in Bandra, Mumbai. Graduated from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, before doing an acting course at NSD (National School of Drama) 1996-99.

Early life: I stayed in Iran with my mother who was an eye specialist till I was 10 or 12-years-old. Both my mother and I had keen interest in theatre. Later on I shifted to Mumbai where I learnt English, Hindi and Marathi and other regional languages, as I only knew Persian.

Interest: Apart from theatre, I love singing, dancing, and reading novels.

Heeba Shah before her performance at the Kalidas Rangalay in Patna. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh

Fitness mantra: As most of the time I am travelling and I’m occupied with work, so I do yoga whenever I get time. Yoga makes me feel good as it makes my body and mind stable.

Her first performance: I loved acting since childhood, I use to act in front of my mother and make her laugh and seeing her smile gave me immense satisfaction. I appeared on stage for the first time when I was in Class VI. The play was called Hijack, in which I played the role of a wife of a general whose plane was hijacked.

Professional appearance: A play called Ismat Apke Naam in 2001 written by Ismat Chugtai and directed by my father Naseeruddin Shah. I also acted in a few movies such as Haathi ka Anda, Missed Call and Mango Souffle.

I have done a number of television serial but the recent one was Balika Vadhu where I played the role of younger version Dadisa.

Future plans: My first love is theatre, but I don’t mind doing serials and movies. However, the script needs to be good enough and should compel me to fall in love with it and the character I am offered. Since my first love is theatre, I would love to concentrate more on it. If I take up serials then I will have to devote 20-25 days a month to it and naturally I won’t be able to attend the rehearsals for plays. This is the reason why I sign less movies and television serials.

If not an actor: Then I would have tried really hard to be an actor (laughs).

Naseeruddin Shah as a father: He is a great father; he gives my brothers — Imaad and Vivaan — and me a lot of space, but at the same time he guides us and gives advice when any of us goes wrong. He keeps a check on me but lets me take independent decisions.

Performing in Patna: I felt that the theatre has a very strong presence here, the audience was excellent, as soon as the play started there was pin drop silence and the mobile phones rang only two times (smiles). I have performed in many cities and countries but here it was wonderful.

What she liked about Patna: I did not get the time to explore Patna as I had a very tight schedule. While I was on my way to Kalidas Rangalay — the route from airport and hotel — I found Patna similar to Mumbai and Delhi. The huge ground — Gandhi Maidan — looked similar to Shivaji Park in Mumbai and the market area had close resemblance to that of Delhi, so I feel it’s just like any other big city. I would love to perform here again and again and will come here soon to perform plays with my dad too.

What she thinks about Patnaites: While I was in NSD I had many friends from Patna and in Mumbai. I know a lot of people from Bihar and I find them to be very nice, unpretentious and smart too.

Aarohi Keshav