Gehlaur (Bihar): When he thought of becoming a hero in Bollywood, actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui was called "crazy", "out of his mind" and a man up for something that many deemed "impossible".
Much like his character Dashrath Manjhi, who ignored sneering comments to break an entire mountain in 22 years, Siddiqui has broken down the myth of conventional Bollywood hero too.
"People used to say I don't look like a hero, I am mad, how will I make it possible? It happened some 16 years ago," Siddiqui told PTI.
The 41-year-old actor "Gangs of Wasseypur", who plays the titular character in Ketan Mehta's upcoming biographical drama "Manjhi - The Mountain Man" says he could relate to the character's madness for bringing down the mountain as he had a similar passion to make it big as an actor.
"I never thought something like this would happen. But the passion and madness which Manjhi had to break the mountain, I had it too for acting.
"Somewhere when you start working you relate to these things. I have channelised that through the character of Manjhi."
The film, which also stars Radhika Apte, is based on the life of Manjhi, a poor labourer hailing from Gehlaur village in Gaya district widely known as the "Mountain Man".
He had laid a road through the mountain using only hammer and chisel in memory of his wife who passed away without medical treatment as travel to the nearest hospital took a lot of time due to the mountain.
Siddiqui says he had heard the story of how a man broke a mountain for his love but could not believe it, until Mehta narrated him the script.
"When I heard the script, I asked Ketan sir, 'Is it real story?' It was unbelievable. It was such an interesting story, no actor in the world would've refused it."