Shefali Shah made her debut in Hindi cinema with 1995’s hit film Rangeela, playing a minor role in the Urmila Matondkar, Jackie Shroff and Aamir Khan-led romantic comedy. Since then she has played important roles in major films that won her critical acclaim and prestigious awards.
Shefali Shah hails from a Mangalorean family born and brought up in Mumbai. From a young age, Shah had an inclination toward arts, singing and dancing and is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer. However, she was never really interested in acting and the first time she ever appeared on stage was when she was 10 for a Gujarati play. After that, it wasn’t until her college days that she discovered that she belonged to the theatre and never looked back. She had acted in many memorable films and given stellar performances, some of which we mention here.
10 Shefali Shah Films That You Can’t Miss
Shah’s latest film Darlings starring along with Alia Bhatt and Vijay Varma is a black comedy drama that was recently released on Netflix. The movie is about a mother-daughter duo Badru and Shamshu who kidnap Hamza, Badru’s abusive husband to take revenge on him for abusing and assaulting her and causing her miscarriage. The two try hard to keep him locked away at home but soon his missing complaint is filed after he did not go to work. The movie shows a cat-and-mouse chase between the police and the mother-daughter who try to keep the kidnapping a secret.
Ram Gopal Varma’s 1998 crime movie Satya was Shefali Shah’s second Bollywood film in which she played a seven minute role which left a string impression on the viewers and critics. She played the role of Pyaari Mhatre, the wife of Manoj Bajpayee’s mafia gangster character Bhiku Mhatre. The role was said to be based on underworld don Arun Gawli’s wife Asha Gawli. The movie was a huge success and Shah’s performance was positively reviewed. Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress, Critics Award for Best Actress and nomination for Award For Best Supporting Actress at 44th Filmfare Awards.
Waqt: The Race Against Time
This movie is a 2005 comedy-drama and starred Akshay Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra along with Shefali Shah. The movie was produced and directed by her husband Vipul Amrutlal Shah. Shah played the role of Sumitra Thakur, the mother of Akshay Kumar’s character in the film which received a lot of criticism as Shefali Shah is five years younger than Kumar and she was asked to play his mother. However, she made it clear that she chose the role because she connected with it. The role bagged her a nomination for Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Dil Dhadakne Do
In this 2015 multi-starrer comedy-drama directed by Zoya Akhtar, Shah played the role of passive-aggressive Neelam Mehra, the wife of Kamal Mehra, a Delhi-based billionaire businessman. Her character is bound to a marriage of convenience and has to hide her eating disorder from her dysfunctional family. Shah was reluctant to play the role at first but the movie turned out to be a hit and Shah’s performance once again caught the attention of critics, bagging her another nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress and a win for Stardust Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Released in 2021, Ajeeb Dastaans is a four-part anthology starring Shefali Shah, Nushrratt Bharuccha, Fatima Sana Sheikh and Konkana Sen Sharma in pivotal roles. She played the role of Natasha in one of the four stories titled Ankahi which was directed by Kayoze Irani. Her role was that of a married woman who is not happy in her relationship and is also a mother to a hearing impaired daughter. She meets a hearing-impaired photographer played by Manav Kaul and falls in love with him which complicates things. The film and Shah’s performance were well received by the audience and critics.
This 2022 thriller movie starring Shefali Shah, Vidya Balan, Mohammed Iqbal Khan and Manav Kaul is set in the backdrop of a hit and run case which gets more and more complicated as the people attached to it try to hide their wrongdoings. Shefali Shah plays the role of Rukhsana in the film, the caretaker of a popular journalist Maya Menon’s (Vidya Balan) son, whose daughter gets hit and killed in an accident while she was out at night. However, as the investigation of the case proceeds, the pieces of evidence are constantly altered and justice gets further and further away.
The Last Lear
Released in 2007, this Indian drama film starred Shefali Shah along with Amitabh Bachchan, Preity Zinta, Arjun Rampal and Divya Dutta. The movie depicts the story of a veteran actor who is inspired by Shakespeare and had quit acting long ago. However, he is approached for a lead role in a movie by an ambitious director and despite his reluctance to adapt to modern cinema, he agrees. Shah plays the role of Vandana, Harish’s caretaker and lady love who is one of the people who narrate his life through their experiences with him.
This 2001 comedy-drama starred Shefali Shah, Naseeruddin Shah, Vijay Raaz and Lillete Dubey in pivotal roles. The movie premiered at 2001 in Cannes, won the Golden Lion award at the Venice International Film Festival and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. In 2014, a musical inspired by the film premiered on Broadway. Set in the backdrop of the preparations of a big fat monsoon Indian wedding, Shah plays the role of the cousin of the bride who suffered molestation as a child by the hands of her cousin’s uncle who is an important and close part of the family.
Gandhi, My Father
Released in 2007, this movie focused on the problematic relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and his son Harilal. The movie starred Darshan Jariwala in the role of Mahatma Gandhi, Akshaye Khanna as Harilal Gandhi and Shefali Shah as Kasturba Gandhi. Shah’s role was not of a revolutionary Kasturba Gandhi, son of Mahatma Gandhi, who led and guided the independence movement along with her husband. The role focused on her personal life which was that of a woman torn between her love for her husband and son who don’t get along.
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