|Birth name||Shameen YouTube|
|Full name||Nadira Zaheer Babbar The Hindu|
|Profession(s)||Actor, Director, and Playwright|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters- 161 cm
in meters- 1.61 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 3”
|Eye Colour||Dark Brown|
|Hair Colour||Dark Brown|
|Date of Birth||20 January 1948 (Tuesday)|
|Age (as of 2021)||73 Years|
|Birthplace||Bombay (now, Mumbai, Maharashtra), India|
|Hometown||Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh|
|College/University||• National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi
• Berliner Ensemble, Germany
|Educational Qualification(s)||• Bachelor of Arts
• Diploma in Direction in 1971
• A course in direction The Times of India The Free Press Journal
|Religion||Islamic coverted to Hinduism Groups Google Strategy Page The Sisat Daily|
|Office Address (Ekjute Theatre)||Nepathya 20, Gulmohar Rd, JVPD Scheme, Juhu, Mumbai, Maharashtra (400049)|
|Relationships & More|
|Affairs/Boyfriends||Raj Babbar (actor and politician)|
|Marriage Date||21 November 1975|
|Parents||Father- Late Sayed Sajjad Zaheer (Urdu writer, marxist ideologue, and revolutionist)
Mother- Razia Sajjad Zaheer (Urdu writer and teacher at Lucknow University, Uttar Pradesh)
• Arya Babbar (actor; born on 24 May 1981)
• Prateik Babbar (stepson; actor)
• Juhi Babbar (actress; born on 20 July 1979)
• Late Najma Zaheer (elder; former biochemistry professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi)
• Noor Zaheer (elder; journalist, Kathak dancer, and writer)
• Naseem Bhatia (younger; joint secretary of the University Grants Commission, India and Vice-Chancellor of Jodhpur University)
|Other Relative||Son-in-Law- Anup Soni (Actor)
|Author(s)||Maxim Gorky, Ernest Hemingway, Roald Dahl|
|Actor(s)||Tom Hanks, Balraj Sahani, and Jack Lemmons|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Nadira Babbar
- Nadira Babbar is a veteran Indian theatre director, actor, and playwright.
- Her father, Late Sayed Sajjar Zaheer, was one of the founding members of the Progressive Writer’s Association and Afro-Asian Writer’s Association. He was also one of the founders of the association of Indian theatre artists ‘Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA)’ and ‘Communist Party of India.’ After the partition of India in 1947, he formed the Communist Party of Pakistan in newly formed Pakistan. He was sentenced to jail for eight years at the time of Nadira Babbar’s birth.
- After completing a diploma from the National School of Drama, Delhi, Nadira received a scholarship from the Indian government to study further in Germany at ‘Berliner Ensemble,’ a German theatre company.
- While Nadira was working as a theatre producer at the National School of Drama (NSD), she met the Indian actor & politician Raj Babbar. At that time, Raj was a newcomer at the NSD, they both worked on a theatre play and play and fell for each other. Soon, Raj proposed to Nadira for marriage without considering that she was four years older than him. In the initial years of their marriage, Nadira and Raj lived at Nadira’s mother’s home. During an interview, Nadira talked about the initial days of her married life. She said,
Within five months of courtship, we got married. We didn’t have a house, so we lived in the one granted to my mother by the government. Around 1978, Raj came to Mumbai and signed a couple of films. I followed him here. But I didn’t want to work. I had worked hard, travelled far to direct and act in plays for survival. Also, I had a child. Mera figure bhi itna achcha nahin tha. I didn’t have a 24-26 inch waist. Where were married actresses getting good roles then? After Raj became popular, I was not used to that kind of attention. I enjoy doing simple things like going to the market. I enjoy bargaining with the machchiwali. But it would be like, ‘Dekho Raj Babbar ki biwi aloo khareed rahi hai’!”
- Later, Nadira, Raj, and their children moved to Mumbai, and soon, Raj became a well-known name in the Hindi film industry. Whereas, Nadira started her theatre group ‘Ekjute.’ In an interview, she talked about forming her theatre group. She said,
I tried to work with other groups after moving to Mumbai in 1980 and did not get the right vibrations from them. So, I formed my own group. Also, people who had moved to Mumbai expected me to form a theatre group so that they would get a platform to express themselves. I graduated from the National School of Drama. I was a gold medallist and got a scholarship to study in Germany. I have worked with renowned directors like Grotovisky and Peter Brooks for a few months.”
- Nadira was living a happy married life with her two children until Raj met the veteran Indian actress Smita Patil while shooting for the Hindi film ‘Bheegi Raate’ in 1982. Raj started liking Smita, and soon, his liking turned into love. He proposed to Smita for marriage, and later, they secretly got married.
- Soon, the rumours of their marriage started in the media, and when Nadira confronted Raj, he confessed that he was married to Smita without getting divorced from Nadira. She then decided to live separately with her children, Juhi and Arya, and Raj moved in with Smita.
- On 28 November 1986, Smita and Raj were blessed with a baby boy, Prateik Babbar, but Smita had various birthchild complications while giving birth to Prateik. Smita could not survive long and within a few days of Prateik’s birth, she passed away at the age of 31.
- Nadira, along with her children, Juhi and Arya, attended the funeral of Smita Patil. During an interview, Nadira talked about it. She said,
I was ridiculed for going to her place (after Smita’s demise). Mujhe bahut afsos, bahut taqleef hui thi for her mother, her family, for the child… She (Smita) had her dreams and wishes. It’s sad she couldn’t live those. The grief of her passing away became larger than any other sorrow. It left everyone broken. It broke us all – Raj, Prateik, her parents and somewhere me too… It was a bad time. I have forgiven it all. I have no ill feelings towards anyone. In comparison to all that life has blessed me with, it’s not right to complain. You never know who will no longer be there with you…”
- Later, Nadira accepted Raj back into her life, and Prateik lived with his maternal grandparents. At that time, various media sources said that Nadira was a ‘doormat,’ as she accepted Raj back into her life. In an interview, Nadira talked about it. She said,
Doormat? Rubbish!” I’d like to tell them it’s better to be a doormat if you have children. It’s better to be a doormat and have harmony at home and give your children a father. It’s better to be doormat than to think of only yourself, destroy your home, your family and make your children drug addicts or push them towards alcoholism… God forgive me, I’m not taunting anyone! My children have never touched a cigarette. They have grown up with tradition and values.”
- During an interview, she talked about her troubled married life. She said,
Suni thi toh dari thi (when I heard about it happening to someone else, I was scared), padi thi toh sahi thi (but when it fell upon me, I had no choice but to endure it). Time, however good or bad, passes. It was fortunate that I didn’t listen to anyone’s advice ke kisi aur mard ke baare mein sochoon (look towards someone else). Theatre and my children helped me hold myself. I grew protective towards my children, more so towards Aarya who was very young. Juhi had somewhere experienced a beautiful time with us. Being overprotective is harmful. But what made me stay on was the fact that Raj is a beautiful human being, caring and sensitive. He never turned away from his responsibilities – even through difficult times.”
- As time passed, Nadira accepted Prateik as well. In an interview, Prateik talked about Nadira. He said,
My mum Nadira always helps and gives me very valuable advice! Generally about life… nothing specific! On Life and work and being an actor. I haven’t asked her about my new passion, theatre acting. But I bet if ever get down to asking for proper professional help or guidance I know there’s so much that I can learn… She, being such a stalwart.”
- Nadira worked as a theatre artist in various theatre plays including Yahudi Ki Ladki, Sandhya Chhaya, Look Back in Anger, Ballabpur Ki Roop Katha, and Baat Laat Ki Halaat Ki.
- She has also directed many popular Hindi theatre plays such as ‘Dayashankar Ki Diary’ (1997), ‘Sakku Bai’ (1999), ‘Suman Aur Sana’ (2008) and ‘Ji Jaisi Aapki Marzi’ (2008).
- She was honoured with Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Theatre – Direction in 2001.
- Some of her popular acting students are Late Sushant Singh Rajput, Rakul Preet Singh, Mohit Marwah, and Richa Chadda.
- In an interview, she talked about working in theatres. She said
I didn’t have the slightest inclination towards theatre. In fact, in college, I was good for nothing. I was only doing masti, shaitani and was never serious about academics. My two elder sisters were merit listers and their pictures would appear in the newspaper. Naturally, in comparison, my being good for nothing was a sore point and I became the black sheep of the family. In fact, after my BA, in which I fared badly, everyone thought it wasn’t a wise idea for me to pursue an MA. So my parents chose a safe career for me: to become a librarian!”
She further added,
After completing my studies at the National School of Drama (NSD), I was fortunate to receive the Government of India scholarship to study theatre at Berlina Ensemble — The Brechtian Theatre founded by Bertolt Brecht and later, I also won a scholarship for further studies at the National Theatre of Wiemer in East Germany. My studies not only opened up new vistas pertaining to the theatre of Germany but also universal theatre. I was fortunate to work with great theatre personalities like Fritz Benevitz, Groto Vosky, Walsgang Heinz, Ursula Kchimskye and Henry Haward.”
- She is one of the first artists to perform at the Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai. In an interview, she talked about it. She said,
I still remember how my association with Prithvi began. I was living in Delhi in the ’70s, and that’s where I met Shashiji (Kapoor) for a shoot. He told me how he had started a small theatre. Just after that, I shifted to Mumbai and met his wife Jennifer. She is one of the greatest human beings I have met in life. Kitni khoobsurat insaan thi woh. She was so in love with Prithvi, which was just a small jhopda back then. I remember how well she treated me. We performed two plays at Prithvi; Maxim Gorky’s The Lower Depths and Agha Hashar Kashmiri’s Yahudi Ki Ladki.”
- Nadira has also appeared in a few Hindi films including ‘Bride and Prejudice’ (2004), ‘Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities’ (2004), ‘Jai Ho’ (2014), and ‘Ghayal Once Again’ (2016).
- In 2020, her sister Noor got married to a 100 years old UK-based filmmaker and journalist, Yavar Abbas. The Dawn
- Nadira acted in the Hindi web series ‘The Married Woman’ in 2021.
- During an interview, when she was asked what would you like to be remembered as? She replied,
Importantly as a lovely human being, honest, sincere and a dedicated theatre worker.”