The Journey So Far
A warm human being and a versatile artist. That’s right, Nadirshah enjoys a unique status indeed among South Indian film personalities.
Mimicry that astounds you with a God-given talent for keen observation and ingenious imitation, comedy skits that set off peals of laughter among young and old alike, mellifluous singing in several languages, poised acting, film direction with a proven knack for captivating audiences…. no, you have not defined Nadirshah yet! There is much more to the man. He pens lyrics, composes music and is a familiar face in living rooms across Kerala as a television anchor.
Nadirshah was born in Kochi, Kerala on 27th August 1969 as the eldest of five children of M.A Sulaiman and P.S Suhara. His father worked for Carborundum Universal Ltd while his mother stayed at home. He has two sisters, Shaila Sulaiman and Salih Sulaiman and two brothers Shoukath Sulaiman and Samad Sulaiman. After receiving his primary education at FACT Eastern UP School and FACT High School in Eloor, Nadirshah joined St. Paul’s College in Kalamassery as a student of Literature. Two years after his father’s demise in 1986, Nadirshah obtained a job with Carborundum Universal. He married Shylamol (Shahina) on 12th April 1998 and the couple has two daughters, Aysha Nadhirsha and Khadeeja Nadhirsha.
Nadirshah’s artistic career took wings at the young age of 10 when he joined Rajan Antony’s SCS Orchestra, Koonamavu. Showing early signs of excellence in parodies and mimics, he started off as a mimicry artist with Sanisa Kurumassery. It was followed by Cochin Oscar led by cine actor Mala Aravindan and Cochin Sagar led by Aby. He released his first cassette Oscar Comedy Songs in 1987. Nadirshah is credited with being the first person to sing in Mahal, a language popular in Lakshadweep and Maldives.
He has done several shows for television in his career. His initial involvement in theatre productions formed the bedrock of his mastery at hosting programs on TV and stage. Before donning the film director’s hat, Nadir Shah would juggle television, stage plays, acting, singing, and writing. He was a keen spotter and groomer of talent, introducing artists like Rimi Tomy, Kottayam Nazeer, Tini Tom, Bibin George and Vishnu Unnikrishnan who were to make their mark in the entertainment industry. He also brought to the limelight personalities like Kalabhavan Mani, Salim Kumar, and Dileep who went on to become industry crowd-pullers. A close confidante and business partner of matinee idol Dileep, Nadirshah has the pulse of the Malayalam film industry like few others do.
In 1991, at a period that saw the confluence of two important trends in Malayalam industry – a surfeit of comedy in cinema and the audio cassette revolution in homes, Nadirshah found himself the right man at the right place. Teaming with buddies Dileep and Aby, he launched the enormously popular cassette Onathinidaykk Puttukachavadam. King Mahabali, talking in the voice of actor Innocent and emerging via a pothole in the road to visit his erstwhile subjects, was its main attraction. Combining nostalgia for the good times with satire at its best, the cassette sold like hot cakes during Onam. The series that featured parodies, spoofs and skits galore, had a dream run of 17 years before grinding to a halt some years back. Dhe Maveli Kombath was another extremely popular cassette that he brought out. The team led by Nadirshah was the clear leaders in Malayalam parody and mimicry from 1990 through 2010 as far as the audio-video industries were concerned. He has been a major television presence, starting with Doordarshan in the 90s.
Nadirshah began his acting career in 1994 with the movie Bheeshmacharya directed by Cochin Haneefa. It was followed by films such as Manathe Kottaram in the same year which saw him in a lead role and Ezharakoottam in 1995. From mimicry to light-hearted entertainers, it was a natural progression for the young man. Even as he explored his acting, the artist began to experiment with his other talents, such as playback singing and writing lyrics for Malayalam films. In 1996, he debuted as a movie playback singer with the song Ennethedi written by Girish Puthenchery and composed by Tomin Thachankary for the movie Maanchiyam. Other hits followed like Manjaadikkunnile Praave for Meenakshi Kalyanam in 1998, and Pattana Naduvil and Vottu Nedan for Korappan the Great in 2001.
He marked his arangetam as a lyricist by penning the song Makkasai for Vetttam directed by Priyadarshan. His music score for Meenakshi Kalyanam sealed his reputation as a music director. Three albums later, Nadirshah wrote, composed and rendered the song Machaane for the Dileep-starrer blockbuster Sringaravelan in 2013. He has written and sung for other people’s compositions in addition to his own.
The year 2015 saw Nadirshah adorn a new role, that of the film director. He made his debut that year with the film Amar Akbar Anthony based on a screenplay by Bibin George and Vishnu Unnikrishnan. This was the culmination of a year-long search for an appropriate story by the artist who also composed the music and sang four lilting numbers in it. The comedy-thriller tells the story of three happy-go-easy friends played by Prithviraj, Jayasurya, and Indrajith and their misadventures. Even though it falls in the comedy genre, the film won plaudits for Nadirshah who injected fresh life into conviviality. The song that he wrote for it, Premamennal, became hugely popular. Needless to add, the film was a box office hit, making audiences sit up and notice the new director. Since then, he has directed two more movies, Kattappanayile Hrithik Roshan and Mera Naam Shaji. Also set to release in the near future are Eeso starring Jayasurya, Keshu Ee Veedinte Nathan starring Dileep and Urvashi, Alahudeenthe Alphuda Pranayam with Shaine Nigam in the lead, Vareedinte Maranam Oru Flashback with Jayasurya in the lead, I am a Disco Dancer with Mammootty in the lead and Nadikan from Aruppukkottai (Tamil remake of Kattappanayile Hrithik Roshan with Dheena in the lead).
Many awards have come seeking the talented artist. Nadirshah won his first major honour winning the first prize for Kathakali Sangeetham at the State School Youth Festival in 1982. He won the Asiavision Award for Popular Director for Amar Akbar Anthony and the Flowers Gulf Film Award for Best Director for Kattappanayile Hrithik Roshan.
Nadirshah proved himself to be a successful restaurateur when he teamed with Dileep to start Dhe Puttu, a classy eating joint in 3000 square feet in Edappally, Kochi. The resounding popularity of the restaurant which focuses on the traditional Kerala cuisine of puttu, made the partners start branches in Kozhikode, Doha and Dubai.
He won Flowers Gulf Film Award for Best Director for Kattappanayile Hrithik Roshan
He won Asiavision Award for Popular Director for Amar Akbar Anthony
He became a film director with this first venture Amar Akbar Anthony
Pens lyrics for the first time for Vettam
He married Shahina and the couple has two daughters, Ayisha and Khadeeja.
Composes music for the first time for Meenakshi Kalyanam
He debuted as a movie playback singer with the song Ennethedi written by Girish Puthenchery and composed by Tomin Thachankary for the movie Maanchiyam.
Nadirshah began his acting career with the hilarious movie Bheeshmacharya.
Nadirshah made his debut as a television actor by appearing in Doordarshan
Teaming with buddies Dileep and Aby, he launched the enormously popular cassette Onathinidaykk Puttukachavadam.
Released first cassette Oscar Comedy Songs
Nadirshah’s artistic career took wings when he was only 16 years old. Showing early signs of excellence in parodies and mimics, he started off as a mimicry artist.
Joined SCS Orchestra, Koonamavu
Nadirshah was born in Kochi, Kerala as the eldest of four children of M.A Sulaiman and P.S Suhara.