Masoom and Naseeruddin Shah

I have so may questions from people that remember Masoom. It was my first film and get surprised that people remember it so much. I must start blogging about my experiences from it. I picked up though, the following extract from a recent interview with Naseeruddin Shah which evoked old memories of old times, old friends ….

The following extract is from ‘Times Now’ :
AG: I remember ‘Masoom’. I was a child when I was taken for the film. I still don’t know why I was taken to see ‘Masoom’ but….
NS: But for some reason everybody showed their children ‘Masoom’… to prepare the ground I guess.
AG: Maybe it was because of Jugal Hansraj?
NS: He was angelic. ‘Masoom’ in fact was after ‘Sparsh’. It was wonderful. I went into it with an attitude of great patronage because Shekhar Kapur at that time was nothing but a failed actor and boy friend of Shabana, you know… and I thought “oh poor Shekhar… he wants to make a movie and let’s help him out”.
But with the very first shot that was taken in that movie, I revised my opinion of Shekhar Kapur as a film maker and realised that I was in very safe hands and that this was going to be a very wonderful movie. I felt that from the very first shot that he did. There’s a shot of an envelope that’s the letter I received, and then there is a tracking shot of my hand with the envelope as I am walking down the office corridor and from that moment onwards ‘Masoom’ was a total joy. And there are very few movies which have been like that,
Thank you Naseer for those kind words.

52 thoughts on “Masoom and Naseeruddin Shah

  1. Who can forget Masoom!?
    It had great actors but you extracted wonderful performances from the kids as well.
    Same with Mr. India. A wonderful tale that caught the imagination of parents and kids alike.
    I’m a lame fan though, not having watched all your movies. To be honest I’m still trying to reconcile the blogger and the film-maker 🙂

  2. Dear Shekhar,
    Masoom is genuinely one of the best movies ever made in Indian cinema and I’ve seen it so many times. One thing that strikes you right away is how genuine the emotions are, and the love with which it has been made. Some scenes that have been etched in my memory are: Jugal Hansraj showing the crayon pictures he has made to Shabana in the car and her reactions, Naseer breaking down in front of Saeed after the cricket picnic, Jugal asking for his father from the ‘tootta tara’, Jugal hurting his hand while making the box and calling Shabana Mummy – just fabulous).
    Q1. I would like to know how the film became so emotionally authentic – How did you empathize with the characters of Jugal/Naseer/Shabana and how did you make the small boy act?
    Q2. Some of the scenes look so spontaneous e.g. when Nasser is driving Jugal home from the station he says “Yeh Purana Qila hai..(then laughs)… bahut purana Qila hai.” Were some scenes like these just created magically in the moment?
    I would just keep the questions to 2 for now and I’m really waiting for your reply.
    Thank you,
    Himanshu – New York

  3. Masoom is one of my favorite movies. I grew up listening to Lakdi ki kathi. I have seen the movie 275 times (this is not an exaggeration!). In fact I have downloaded the movie onto my laptop so I can watch it whenever time permits. Similar is the case with Mr. India. The best thing about Masoom is that the emotions are so real, and have been so beautifully portrayed. Nothing in the film comes across as put on. I would like to say that Bollywood has lost one of its greatest talents in Shekhar Kapr. No one can make films like you do.

  4. dude…
    what was your mind set at that point of time? what made you think of direction? what difficulties you faced being a first time director?

  5. Hi Shekhar,
    ‘Tujh se naaraaz nahi zindagi’ was (and is) just brilliant… and so is Masoom… I happened to watch it as a kid, and as a teenager (both on TV)…and the movie was…hmm…lets leave the words here…

  6. Dear Shekhar,
    As I live right near Times Square a few weeks back I picked up the DVD for Elizabeth from the Virgin megastore(just for the commentary – I had seen it before). I was so surprized by the commentary and loved your passion during the commentary. It seemed so real to me that I felt like Dudley, Norfolk, Cecil and Walsingham were you friends. I think you should do a similar commentary for Masoom and release that DVD. Yesterday when I was thinking about Masoom, I thought that besides loving it I didn’t exactly know what to ask you (a commentary makes it quite interactive and I have lots of questions about Elizabeth). Love your explanations about working with a western score, convincing actors to work, shooting in the wind when the camera just won’t stabilize on the crane. Most importantly when you talk about the big stone pillars in the palaces, and how small humans and their destiny is compared to it.
    And, for my friends here who do not have the Elizabeth DVD yet – do get it, Shekhar’s commentary itself is enough for the price.
    Thank you,
    Himanshu – New York

  7. Masoom is about beauty in simplicity – thats the way I see it even today. The raw emotions and innocent charm has a rare quality of freshness which is seldom seen now-a-days. Every lyric had been thought out,well-placed and of course melodious..
    After long, a movie like Dor seems to fit that genre of movie-making …

  8. hey,
    Finally, you started your blog on this movie. Jugal Hansraj was indeed angelic! In fact, the kids were really cute. I tried to find the identity of the girl who played Urmila’s kid sister but in vain. She was damm cute. All in all, I guess it was a perfect movie with a beautiful blend of maturity for adults and innocence for kids, hence putting it in the genre of quality family cinema.
    All though, with this article, the thirst to know more about the movie has increased. Hope to read more such blogs… 🙂

  9. NS’ comments on why parents took kids to watch Masoom – “to prepare the ground” is funny….yet life has brought many a families to similar situations…do extra-marital relationships make a marriage weaker or stronger, even..hard to say..
    Masoom was great, thank you making such good movies.

  10. Masoom was just great. But what you made out of Mr. India was phenomenal.
    With limited special effects at that time you had created wonders with your imagination.
    You are master to get the act from childrens which were proved from both masoom and Mr. India.
    With the increasing Re makes of movies, I wonder people would really like to have these movies to be remade with todays special effects.

  11. Can anybody please e-mail ( me the link where I can download or purchase the Lakdi ki Kati song (in Video format) . I stay in Mumbai and can be reached at 9820229710 and I require this for my daughter as she dances ad smiles when she hears the song.
    I had watched the Masoom movie when I was 10 years in the theatre and I enjoyed it…

  12. Dear Mr. Kapur
    I would like to say that i really loved the movie Masoom, and really liked the boy ‘Jugal Hansraj’ I think it was a great movie and nice to know that it was your directrial debut.

  13. I just wanna say that the whole thing of Masoom is just tooooo goooood. Thank you for giving us a films like Masoom and Mr. India and one of the cutest actor of Bollywood ‘Jugal Hansraj’ Moreover, i didnt like when you signed vevek of your next film ‘paani’ I think you should work with JUGAL HANSRAJ once again because i just love the actor very much, and you’re one of my fav director as well. In the near future I would like to see more of your movies, but please dont forget JUGAL HANSRAJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  14. Its obvious that you’d have more comments from women than men for masoom. For me that film was a first away from the usual masala films.I was nine when I realised hey that’s a real film! They do real films!
    As much as it was you drawing out performances from the actors I think it was the universe conspiring to make sure a film that tugged at the strings of maternal love was being made. A film that would make every human question if they had it in them to love unconditionally.
    So apart from thanking you for this film..i want to say well done to your entire team..
    Your most sincere work to date…now try connecting back to that “you” who made it..
    God bless,

  15. sir
    I want to start with that i hav not seen many of your movies except Mr India ,Masoom and few sceens of the hollywood flick “elizabeth”.
    i was myself surprised to know that u don’t know that how much viewers like ur movie “Masoom” and for ur astonishment i cannot stop myself crying from the IInd half of the movie.The magic of the movie still works with such good script and such impeccable performances of Mr shah and legendary shabana azmi.
    But its a pity that u hav not worked on hindi film for a long long time now nor do u makin any hollywood movie as such.please tell me r u intersted in makin sum movie in future and what ur views on how bollwood is heading towords(witout you).

  16. Dear Shekhar,
    I never knew earlier that you made the movie “Masoom”, the movie of all the times and an everlasting one.
    What a masterpiece it is, no words to explain, “a little star” in the history of cinema.
    Binaya Joshi

  17. a masterpiece and i think ur best work…in no other movie were u able to play with human emotions with such artistry…but i dont think the actors had 2 much to do to give them the credit…i beleive it was just ur raw & hungry directorial genius.. It is the only movie i cried after watching….may be bcos it released when i was 13…

  18. masoom – a tender touch
    masoom – a silence that sings the song of life …
    Shekhar ji
    no matter what i say about this film it is less.
    The beauty of this film taught me a lot of lessons… as a person i understood life much better… thanks to such a wonderful person like you..

  19. masoom was a great touchy i just cant forget many scenes.the song tujse naraaz nahin zindagi hairan hoo main…..

  20. Hi Shekhar
    I have been wanting to watch an old, forgotten movie of yours, ” Libaas” for the past ten uears. Not available anywhere?
    Any idea how to get it?? Please…

  21. Hi Shekharji,
    I was 10 years old when I saw your movie Masoom. It was the greatest movie ever made on children. I have a Question? Who is the second girl child which play the role of younger sister of Urmila Matondkar? Please tell me about her if possible send me the latest picture of her.

  22. I have seen Masoom about 5 times. First as a child, then as a teen, then on the verge of adulthood. The beauty of the movie is that its like an onion. Pardon the analogy, but it has layers and layers of meaning. Each time you watch the movie, yet another layer opens. For me, the most touching moment in the entire movie is the last scene. Simple, yet so deep.
    Thank you sir for such a wonderful movie.
    I read in your blog that you are a child of the partition, just as I am a child of the Emergency. Could I be so forward as to ask why is that you directed a movie on Elizabeth, but none on partition?

  23. Hi. Masoom is a film very close to my heart. Enjoyed this post immensely. It’d be wonderful if you shared more about the film and your experiences during and after.

  24. Hi,
    Masoom is my favourite movie, but can anyone post something about Aardhana ( Minni), as per imd she acted in Khoobsurat and Satte pe Satta, but how can she be so old in those movies, if they released around the same time as Masoom ( as per the imd release dates)or is it that Masoom took many years in the making?
    Also it would be gr8 if Shekhar shares his experience during Masoom.

  25. An Excellent movie – I have watched Elizabeth and Mr. India – and liked this one much more. It was my father’s favorite, and I saw him get teary eyed while watching it. I think my mother did not like Naseerudin Shah’s character in the movie, but my father was more forgiving. 🙂
    I remember him when I watch the movie. Interesting story which was very well directed and acted.

  26. Masoom is one movie which I will never forget. I watched it when I was 15 years old and again at 25 years of age. I look forward to watching it even today.
    Everyone in the movie has acted superbly. I like the kid sister of Urmila very very much. I do not want to identify her now as I wish that she is just the same cuuuuuuute girl and never grown up.

  27. Dear Mr. Kapoor,
    I wish to salute you to make such a wonderful movie, MASOOM. I was only 3 years old when this movie was released and I am watching it till now. This movie is always new to watch and so fresh and touching that it is not possible to explain in words. I can only say that please make few movies more…

  28. Naseer is my favourite actor along with Depardieu,Brando and Isabelle Hupert.(Isabelle I rate as the greatest!)I tend to read everything about him which appears in any media.His comments are generally honest and forthright.Tact is not his strongest point.I have rarely seem him praising his directors.This may have cost him many good roles!But his praise for Masoom has always been unstinting.How about a new film with Bollywoods greatest director and actor together again?With a supporting cast of Shabana/Tabu/Om Puri/Irfan….sounds mouth watering!

  29. Shekar ji
    You are an inspiration to us all! Masoom remains a very clear memory of the beauty/power of Cinema and you have done legendary work on it.
    I have watched countless times following, and have followed your other works closely.
    As I move now towards my first film feature, I must say Masoom is one of the very early inspirations I’ve had.
    Thank you.

  30. Hi Shekhar,
    In the midst of the high from India’s Gold Medal and low from Anna’s letter abt the havoc in Georgia, I decided to watch Masoom. For some reason this movie never fails to bring me back to normal no matter what mood I am in. It’s almost like someone close to me is holding and telling that “This too shall pass”. I guess staying away from home one tends to get little emotional, but thank God for my Masoom DVD, as it always came to my rescue. I still don’t know the reason behind the healing powers of Masoom. But, it sure has that magical power to it. I often wonder abt the experience you had while making the movie and I am really hoping that someday you will let us all know
    when was the first thought or idea of masoom born?
    Was it something you had read or experienced or someone shared their experiences with you ?
    What made Chanda Dutt and Devi Dutt take interest in this project ?
    How was it working with Shabanaji and Naseer Saab, Sayeed Saab ?
    Where they reluctant or agreedly wholeheartedly ?
    How did you manage to get so realistic performances from Jugal, Urmila and Aradhana ?
    What made Supriya Pathak and Tanuja take on the small parts in the movie ?
    Was it difficult to convince R D Burman to do the movie ?
    Did Gulzar saab write all the songs before hand or there were some songs that were tuned even before the words came ?
    Did you ever think that “Tujhse Nazar Nahin” will become a timeless song that would remain fresh for decades to come?
    How was your vision translated to Pravin Bhatt so that the lenses capture your imagination ?
    Did you have any hand in selecting the playback singers or was it all Burman da ?
    I am a die hard fan of Gurudutt and believe he was the best filmmaker of our country. And hence I was extermely happy to see that the movie was dedicated to Geeta Dutt.
    Was it your decision to dedicate the movie to Geeta dutt ?
    What was your reaction when you saw the first edited version of this movie ?
    Where you satisfied as a Director or you felt you could have done better ?
    Where you always clear abt the end of the movie or you had long discussions to nail it down ?
    What were the reactions when the movie was shown to the first set of people ? And who were these people ?
    What is the best compliment you have ever received for Masoom and from whom ?
    There is so much we want to know abt the movie Shekhar. I wish sometime soon your memory takes you back to the Masoom days and you tell yourself , hey it’s time to hit the blog with Masoom experience. Until then I and many others like me would be eagerly awaiting the arrival of Masoom experience.
    This movie definitely stands tall among the few masterpiece creations of Indian Cinema. And you Shekhar are the creator of this one. Feel Proud…

  31. Ihave come to know that you are making Paani.I implore you to cast Naseeruddin Shah,the best actor of India

  32. Hello Shekhar Sir,
    HATS OFF TO YOU SIR….I cannot comment on Masoom coz I too small to do so… it possible for you to make a documentary like ‘making of Masoom’?… would be a lifetime thing for all those millions and millions who saw your movie…..

  33. One request: We love Masoom alot for its music. Alot of us would love to know about your experience with RD Burman during Masoom. It would be very interesting to know what you think about his music, what made you select him for your first film and how was the experience of a first-timer with the already established composer.

  34. Hi, Shekhar i have seen masoon just twice or thrice but that movie has etched in mind, i think that you have made aclassic . Everything abt that movie enticing. You have dealt so well with the emotions that you feel its actually a closeknit family. Excellent performs by everybody from Naseerudin shah to kids .classic music with touching lyric , everysong defines situation that characters are going through.As a person i can relate to all the emotion which you have soon in the movie.Nowdays hardy such good movies are made which makes you think abt relationship. I think ensemble people have come toghter & created a classic like masoom. Great work.

  35. Masoom is one of the highlights of my growing up years in Nainital. It was really special because it was shot in my school, St. Joseph’s, and had Naseeruddn Shah, one of our alumni. And “Lakdi ki Kaathi” which I sang at innumerable birthdays, playing on a table with a ten paisa coin.

  36. Masoom is one of the highlights of my growing up years in Nainital. It was really special because it was shot in my school, St. Joseph’s, and had Naseeruddn Shah, one of our alumni. And “Lakdi ki Kaathi” which I sang at innumerable birthdays, playing on a table with a ten paisa coin.

  37. Dear shekhar,
    Masoom to me is best film ever made in India, period.
    Even at a ripe age of 60 , having seen it 30 times if not more, it brings tears in my eyes. The emotional turmoil that Naseer,
    Jugal and shabana go through is so eloquently brought out by you in a very subtle yet effective manner.
    dr sharad shinde

  38. Dear Shekhar,
    Masoom has been a milestone to my life. i was an adopted kid and my mother use to stay away from home due to her job, and i was stayed back in a solitude, juggling my own questions. Strangely looking at dual attitude of people, unable to locate myself in world , unable to identifying my own thoughts too alone in a intelligent world with my own stupid thoughts.
    And than one day when i was 10 years old i saw masoom i broke in to cry. And than i learn to be patient with my aggression. it has answered many of questions which i had that time. This movie has silently answered my querries. It is so close to my heart that the first thing i purchased from my first salary was masoom DVD
    Thaks to help me in my solitude by making masoom

  39. i’ll say one and only shekar can make this magnificant movie.
    i salute you shekhar,

  40. Hi,
    I am reading abt you fr thr first time ,(not too internetty) ,Nimmi’s Ganga ,
    see it on T. V aplenty.!!
    Am in Delhi, Mandira, 2nd girl is advocacy specialist fr the UN Millenium Goals campaign.
    Taruna bet Goa and chennai/Delhi.
    take care

  41. Hi,
    I watch this movie so many time i want this movie dvd with english subtitle please send which company have right now so i can buy because in tseries they dont have english sub

  42. Shekhar,
    You may want to take a look at the book Ocean’s Apart by Karen Kingsbury, published 2004 by Zondervan. The story has a striking similarity with that of your film Masoom (1983).
    Here’s what it says on the backcover:
    Connor Evans is a man who loves his wife and their two daughters. They have their troubles — what marriage doesn’t — but they’ve always managed to get through them. Now a phone call is about to shatter his world…
    Eight years ago, Connor was unfaithful, and unbeknownst to him, that one night produced a son. The mother has died suddenly, and her will gives Connor the opportunity to know the boy before he makes any decisions.
    Now the family is on the brink of destruction. Can Connor’s wife Michele and their daughters ever forgive Connor? Or will the presence of one lonely child destroy everything?
    The author has claimed Gold Medallion Book Award from ECPA ( in 2005 and this book is getting rave reviews.

  43. respected shekhar ji,
    colors par telecast ho rahe tallent show ke judge ke roop mein aap ne sabse jayda impress kiya hai. aap ki aankhon se baar baar ansoo niklna aap ke mein chupe hue dard ko darsata hai. maine aap ki kai films dekhi hai aap bahut achche director hone ke saath saath achche insaan bhi hai . mujhe maaf karna chota muh badi baat hogi bhale hi bandit queen aap ki popular films rahi hai par yeh film aap ke filmi career par ik dhabba(daag) hai jo ab nahin mit sakta.mujhe yaad hai aap ki yeh film chandigarh ke nirman cinema mein lagi thi first day first dat or house full tha aur 80% viewers ladies thi. kisi ko nahin pata tha ki is film mein kitna gand hai aur kai famlies isse dekhne ke aayi thi. film ke diloges aur gande schenes ne unhe interwal mein hi udh jane ke liye mazboor kar diya tha mujhe achchi tarh se yaad hai ki 60% se bhi jyada haal khali ho gaya tha.main aap se aasha karta hoon ki ab aap ik bahut hi achchi family movie banege.jaise ki massom,amrit avtar,dariyadil,jaisi karni waisi bharni,sansar,ghar dwar etc

  44. Hi,
    Masoom like so many others here has a very special place in my heart. As a child it was my favorite movie , in particular for the lakdi ki kathi song. I would religiously watch it every single day if not many times a day and nobody was allowed near the TV if my masoum was playing. I can’t even count the number of times I have seen the movie.
    It’s a movie that has helped me grow.
    i can’t express how much this movie has touched and taught me. Every time I see this movie I somehow discover something new. It is simple and complex at the same time. It’s amazing to think it was your first movie, that goes to show what an amazing director you are. Your capacity of conveying the intricacies of human emotions combined with some of the most beautiful music and lyrics turned into one of the masterpieces of indian cinema. I think that your best quality as a director is your capacity to empathize with your characters allowing the viewers to do the same.
    I recently watched it again after many years and cried from the starting till the end like I haven’t cried for years, especially as soon as i saw jugal hansraj’s innocent and beautifil eyes and for the amazing songs tu naraz nai and ek naina . The are the most beautiful songs. Maybe it’s my childhood nostalgia mixed with the beauty of the songs but i can only listen to them alone becaue they touch me too deply and feel like a part of me now. For some strange reason watching this movie feels like reading an old personal diary, something very precious and intimate.
    I just wanted to thank you for making the most beautiful movie ever. I just wish you could come back to indian cinema.
    Her’s wishing you all the best in eveything you do

  45. Brillant Story Brillant Performances by Naseer,Shabana & Kids and above all Genius work by Director..Hats of Shekar..
    I have script in mind and like to give it to you to review..Please contact me at

  46. Hello Shekhar ji,
    you are my inspiration, I have developed a game concept on kalbelia tradition, story of a Kalbelia Women.According to me thats a good story for film also, thier`s lot of work i have to do on that concept because that time i just develop that as a game concept but now i am planing to go with as a script for a film.
    When I saw your 2d promo for ‘Devi’ I realy got inspired.
    My name is Gaurav Singh and rite now I am on job here in Bangalore in Game animation company “Dhruva”.

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