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The Last Lear (2007)

An aging Shakespearean actor takes on one of the bard's most challenging roles. Based on Utpal Dutt's play "Aajker Shahjahan".


Rituparno Ghosh


Utpal Dutt (inspired by), Rituparno Ghosh (screenplay) | 2 more credits »


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Credited cast:
Amitabh Bachchan ... Harish 'Harry' Mishra
Preity Zinta ... Shabnam
Arjun Rampal ... Siddharth Kumar
Shefali Shah ... Vandana
Jishu Sengupta ... Gautam (as JIsshu Sengupta)
Divya Dutta ... Ivy
Shahbaaz Khan ... Ramesh (as Shahbaz Khan)
Sudip Mukherjee Sudip Mukherjee
Prasenjit Chatterjee ... Rajiv (as Prosenjit Chatterjee)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Anil Kuriakose Anil Kuriakose ... Venky
Hu Xin Hu Xin ... Girl at the Diwali celebration (as Hue Xin)


Film-maker Siddharth Kumar is receiving guests at his premiere 'The Mask' which stars Harish Mishra, Shabnam, amongst others. He finds out that Shabnam is not attending and is not available. The reason why she cannot attend is that she has gone to visit the ailing main actor of this movie, Harish, who was injured while filming. She sits with his mistress, Vandana, and Nurse Ivy, and recount Harish's life; his meeting with Journalist, Gautam, and subsequently Siddharth himself; the installation of a camera to view people walking on the street as well as males who urinate on the walls. As they await to hear the initial reviews of the film both Shabnam and Ivy must also deal with personal issues involving their respective spouses. Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




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English | Bengali | Hindi

Release Date:

12 September 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aajker Shahjahan See more »

Filming Locations:

Kolkata, West Bengal, India


Box Office


INR 100,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


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Did You Know?


[first lines]
Gautam: The premier of your first film is always special, but not if Diwali is on the same day. People are generally busy with celebrations at home. It is unlikely that all the invitees will turn up - especially if it's an off-beat film.
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User Reviews

The first Bachchan
15 August 2009 | by Peter_YoungSee all my reviews

Rituparno Ghosh's The Last Lear is another realistic, artistic and excellent work. I did not really like the film being in English but obviously it wouldn't have been possible in Hindi or Bengali, considering it's about a Shakespearean actor. The story was compelling and interesting, and the idea of taking an old, Shakespearean theatre actor (Bachchan) and casting him in a motion picture is intelligent. Not less impressive is that despite the film being entirely about Bachchan, all the other characters are well-written. Every character is portrayed as a struggling person. In his way to become a film actor, we meet several characters through Bachchan's Harry: his co-star, Shabnam (Zinta), a model-turned-actress who does not know how to act and what to do with her film career, and who has problems with her jealous husband; Siddharth (Rampal), an arrogant independent filmmaker; Vandana (Shah), Bachchan's mistress (double-meaning); and his confused nurse, played by Divya Dutta. I think the film was well written, although it does become a bit slow at times. Harry's character is wonderful - an artist who insists to work on his own artistic terms. I liked Bachchan's scenes, I liked the scenes of the three women who have a nice evening on the day of the film's release, I liked the scenes of Bachchan and Zinta together, their conversations about what acting is.

Bachchan is extraordinary - one of his finest and most difficult performances ever. He is intense, generous, impulsive, and his English line delivery is spectacular. The film belongs to him completely, although the rest of the cast do a good job. Preity Zinta is extremely vulnerable as Shabnam. She lets go of her bubbly, vivacious image completely, and is portrayed as a very depressed woman throughout. And although she gives a fine and very sincere performance, I don't find it any better than in her commercial films - I generally prefer her in roles of vibrant and strong women who are full of life and happiness, because that's what she is. Anyway, I liked the scenes in which she smoke anxiously, I liked the scene in which Bachchan teaches her how to release tensions by screaming, and she breaks down (this scene has appeared several times in different films), and she was particularly impressive in the film's last scene. Shefali Shah turns in a brilliant, exceptional performance, not that I expected any less from her. Arjun Rampal and Divya Dutta are very good as well. I knew from the very beginning that this film would not work for the wide audience, it's a film for people who like artistic films and festival stuff. This is not a particularly entertaining film, but I enjoyed it mainly due to Bachchan's performance.

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