Childhood & Early Life
Shivaji Satam was born on April 21, 1950, in Bombay, (now known as Mumbai), Maharashtra, India. He hailed from a lower-middle-class Marathi family and grew up in a “chawl,” where most of his neighbors were Gujarati. Growing up amidst Gujarati families influenced his demeanor.
Shivaji completed high school and pursued his higher studies in physics. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics and then chose to study business administration. He was always interested in acting, but the financial issues in the family made him decide to be financially stable before he experimented with his passion.
He somehow landed a job as a cashier at the ‘Central Bank of India.’ As he became financially stable, he began pursuing theater. He began acting in a lot of local Marathi plays. He also participated in the inter-bank theater competitions and caught the attention of famous Marathi theater actor Bal Dhuri.
It was Bal Dhuri who finally recognized Shivaji’s talent and began nurturing him. Through him, Shivaji got his first break in professional theater, earning a key part in the famous Marathi play ‘Sangeet Varad.’
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After settling in his bank job, he began auditioning for TV and film roles. He finally made his TV debut in 1980, with the serial titled ‘Rishte-Naate.’ Toward the late 1980s, he made his film debut with a minor role of a doctor in the film ‘Pestonjee.’
His natural acting prowess helped him earn a role in the 1995-released film ‘English August.’ It was filmmaker Dev Benegal’s debut film. The low-budget independent film was shot in English, which was a rarity for Indian cinema back then. The film turned out to be a critical and commercial success.
He got his mainstream Hindi film breakthrough in 1997, when he was seen playing ‘Inspector Joshi,’ a key role in the action film ‘Yeshwant.’ The film received good reviews and became a cult classic over time. However, the film was praised mainly for Nana Patekar’s performance in a role that was loosely inspired by Al Pacino’s role in ‘Serpico.’
Shivaji joined hands with Nana Patekar once again, for the crime drama ‘Ghulam-E-Mustafa,’ which featured him as a good-hearted father. The film received positive reviews and was also a box-office success. It also established Shivaji as an actor apt for playing a vulnerable, law-abiding father.
In 1998, he teamed up with Nana Patekar once again, for the film ‘Yugpurush.’ The offbeat film also starred Jackie Shroff and was noted for its unusual theme and intense performances. Shivaji’s role as ‘Paresh’ also received widespread praises.
The same year, he appeared in one more pivotal role, in the film titled ‘China Gate.’ The multi-starrer film also featured big Bollywood names such as Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, and Amrish Puri. Shivaji played the role of a village “sarpanch” in the film.
In the late 1990s, he appeared in pivotal supporting roles in films such as ‘Sooryavansham,’ ‘Wajood,’ and ‘Hu Tu Tu.’ ‘Sooryavansham’ has become a cult classic over time.
In the late 1990s, he played the father of the leading man (played by Sanjay Dutt) in the film titled ‘Vaastav.’ Directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, the film was a huge critical and commercial success. It was, in a way, a pioneer of realistic crime dramas in the Hindi film industry.
In the late 1990s, Shivaji earned what has probably been the most popular role of his career. In 1998, he was signed to play the role of ‘ACP Pradyuman’ in the police-procedural crime drama series ‘C.I.D.’ The series dealt with the inner workings of a group of law officials headed by Shivaji’s character.
The series ran for 20 years and became one of the most popular programs on Indian TV. Shivaji became a household name, owing to his role as the strict lawman who was projected as extremely intuitive and intelligent.
The early 2000s brought more meaty film roles for Shivaji. During this time, he appeared in films such as ‘Kurukshetra,’ ‘Jodi No.1,’ ‘Pukar,’ ‘Baaghi,’ and ‘Nidaan.’ Additionally, he also reprised his role of ‘Namdev’ from the film ‘Vaastav’ in its sequel, titled ‘Hathyar.’
However, toward the mid- to the late 2000s, his appearances on the big screen reduced significantly. Some of his notable films from that period were ‘Taxi No. 9211,’ ‘Viruddh,’ and ‘De Dhakka.’ During this time, he concentrated on his role as ‘ACP Pradyuman’ in ‘C.I.D.’
Lately, he has appeared in Marathi films such as ‘Mi Shivaji Park’ and ‘Wedding Cha Shinema.’
His role in ‘C.I.D.’ has earned him the award for the “Best Actor in Lead Role” at the 2002 ‘Indian Telly Awards.’ In addition, he has also won the “Best Actor” award at the ‘Maharashtra State Film Awards’ for his roles in the Marathi films ‘Ek Hoti Vadi’ and ‘Dhyaani Mani.’