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The Artists of Dastangoi

Mahmood Farooqui studied history in India and at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. In the past four years he has worked to revive Dastangoi, the lost art of storytelling in Urdu. He has been helped and guided by S. R. Faruqi, Urdu's pre-eminent critic and writer. Mahmood also contributes opinion pieces to India's leading newspapers and magazines. His first book on the uprising of 1857 in Delhi is due out from Penguin India in 2010.

Danish Husain has performed lead roles in plays by many of the best names in Indian theatre today, including Habib Tanvir, Rajinder Nath, M.K. Raina, Barry John, M.S. Sathyu, Sabina Mehta Jaitly and Sohaila Kapur. He is well remembered for his performances in the plays Manto, Panchi Aise Aate Hain, Jaat Hi Poocho Sadhu Ki, A Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, The Crucible, Mirzabagh, Agra Bazaar, and Rumi; Unveil The Sun. Husain received the Best Actor in A Supporting Role award for Rumi; Unveil The Sun at the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards of 2008.

Danish has also performed in a British feature, Losing Gemma, for ITV. His current projects include acting assignments in two upcoming films, as well as documenting the making of one of the films with Academy Award nominee production house Aamir Khan Productions.

Since 2006, Husain has collaborated with his friend Mahmood Farooqui to revive a lost form of storytelling, Dastangoi. Their performances have been critically acclaimed. They will revisit Dastangoi with Naseeruddin Shah at the Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas festival in New York in June, 2009.

In addition to his work as an actor and performer, Husain is also a poet. His work has been published in Indian, Canadian and South African literary journals.

Naseeruddin Shah (sometimes spelled Nasiruddin) was born in India in 1950 and is widely recognized as India's and one of the world's finest actors today. He began his career in parallel cinema, India's New Wave cinema movement, and is now one of that movement's icons.

Shah is also highly acclaimed for his Bollywood film and theater performances. His many awards include the Best Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival for his role in Paar, two wins at the National Film Awards for Best Actor, India's equivalent of the Academy Awards, three Filmfare Best Actor Awards and the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award as well as the Padma Shri, the country's fourth highest civilian award.

A graduate of New Delhi’s National School of Drama, Shah has appeared in many international films, most notably playing Captain Nemo in the Hollywood comic-book adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with Sean Connery and in the pivotal role for the 2001 hit Monsoon Wedding. Shah is also an accomplished director, performing alongside his wife, actress Ratna Pathak Shah, with his theater ensemble throughout South Asia, the Gulf States, England and North America. He has directed plays written by Ismat Chughtai and Saadat Hasan Manto.

Shah's directorial film debut, Yun Hota To Kya Hota, was released in 2006 to critical acclaim. The movie stars several established actors, including Konkana Sen Sharma, Paresh Rawal and Irrfan Khan as well as Shah’s own son Imaad.