EXCLUSIVE: I am a very confused person, says Nawazuddin Siddiqui
For a man who started his acting career by doing 15 second cameo appearances in films and being unnoticed for years in Bollywood, winning a National award and rejecting more than 175 scripts is certainly a high point in his career. Yet, he remains untouched by all the glitter as a consequence of his spectacular success. Today, journalists are making a beeline around this rising star for either a byte or an interview. Such is the phenomenon called Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who got the loudest cheer from the audiences at the recently held National awards in New Delhi. Resham Sengar was one of the lucky few who got to speak to the in-demand actor during a tête-à-tête:
On being different from the herd…
The notion that a typical Bollywood hero has to be muscular and look dishy has been around for ages. But Nawazuddin is a ‘one-of-a-kind’ actor, who has managed to change the rules by romancing the pretty Huma Qureshi in ‘Gangs of Wasseypur 2’. Quite frankly, he is no Hrithik Roshan or Shah Rukh Khan. Yet, he is desirous of playing a lover in the films does in the future. But his average looks are not a deterrent to his acting ambitions. He says that there is a lot of scope for experimentation when it comes to making ‘real’ love stories. “Love story aisi honi chahiye jo real lage. Hum logon ko aadat pad gayi hai wahi usual love stories dekhne ki is liye koi khaas experiment nai hota” (Love stories should look real. The audiences are used to watching the run-of-the-mill love stories because film makers are not experimenting), he asserts. He puts forth his views by adding, “Love stories should be relatable. But what happens is the hero simply confesses his love to the heroine by saying ‘I love you’ and she readily accepts his proposal. But even now it takes time in a country like ours to make an effort to do that. Therefore, romance films should be made considering this state.”
One of the perks of being a celebrity is that of signing autographs for fans. But this was something that the actor, who can keep the audiences spellbound with his acting, was more or less clueless about. Mujhe to autograph dena hi nahin ata tha. Isiliye main apna naam hi likh deta tha,” the actor makes an honest confession. He goes on to say,“Par Jab maine dekha ki baaki actors apne naam ke saath aur bhi kuch likhte hain tab maine bhi waise hi start kiya (I did not even know how to sign an autograph. I used to simply write my name. But when I saw other actors writing something more besides their name, it was then that I too started doing the same). At first, I was hesitant when it came to giving autographs, thinking that I am not even worth giving one. But slowly I got over that phase,” says the actor.
On his self-motivation strategy…
Quite obviously, failure can be a roadblock for anyone striving to make it big in Bollywood. But Nawazuddin says there was no room for de-motivation in his heart because he was not left with any other option except acting. De-motivate hone ka koi sawaal hi nahin tha kyonki mere paas aur koi career option nahin tha. Mujhe bas acting hi karni thi. Yeh nahin milega to kuch aur nahi kar sakta tha. Agar mera career aage nahi badta to bhi main Mumbai main hi rehta,” he says. (There was no question of getting demotivated because I did not have any other career option. I only wanted to act. Even I my career has not moved ahead, I would have opted to stay in Mumbai). But yes, he says that he did watch good films to perk himself up and get ready to face the world once again whenever disappointment showed its ugly face. “Jo dost the mere vo motivate karte the jaise ki Anurag Kashyap aur Amit Kumar,” adds the actor. (My friends like Anurag Kashyap and Amit Kumar used to motivate me).
On his film icon(s)…
“Icon to as such koi nahin hai par jinki acting se main influence hua hoon who Dilip Kumar ji aur Naseer sahab hain” (I don’t have any icon as such but I am influenced by the work of Dilip Kumar and Naseeruddin Shah), says the actor. He further adds, “I was impressed with the acting technique of these veteran actors. Talent sirf first film mein hi work karta kai. Lekin second film mein aapko film knowledge ki zaroorat padti hai. Aur woh knowledge aapko training se hi milti hai. (Talent works only in the first film. But in the second film, an actor needs to show how much he knows about the craft. And that comes through training).
On the trending 100 crore club…
Nawazuddin does not find the elite 100 crore club alluring at all. What he stands for is quality of cinema. “I don’t believe in the 100 crore club. But yes, films like Raju Hirani’s ‘3 Idiots’ are good quality films.” Ask him why he thinks so and he says, “Kyonki usme paisa zyada dikhta hai. Baki cheezein jaise ki performance aur story dab jati hain. But would he work in a film being touted as a ‘100 crore film’ much like he did (albeit a blink and you miss role) in his segment in ‘Bombay Talkies’?
“Of course, karunga. Agar film ki story acchi hai, sensible hai todefinitelykarunga. Agar aisa nahin hai to nahin karunga,”he replies. (Of course, I would do. If the film’s story is good and sensible, then definitely I would take up the project. Otherwise, I won’t).
On his hat trick at the Cannes Film Fest…
Even this year, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, will make his way all the way to the 66th Cannes Film festival that sees a huge turnout of stars from the world of cinema. And what is more exciting is the fact that this is going to be Nawazuddin’s third consecutive appearance in the prestigious film festival. Three of his new films – ‘Monsoon Shootout’, ‘The Lunchbox’ and ‘Bombay Talkies’ - will be screened at the fest. All these achievements truly throw ample light on the actor as the international face of the Indian cinema. And he could not ask for more. “I thank God that I am on the right track. I feel happy that I am being honoured for doing films of my own liking,” says the elated actor.
On his fame back home…
Nawazuddin says although he is married, his wife never had any issue with him romancing another woman on the big screen. Why? Because she was herself a small-time actress once upon a time. As for his village folks, he says that they are proud and here’s why: “Main jis gaon ko belong karta hun wahan art aur culture naam ki koi cheez nahin hain. Wahan ganna hota hai ya gun hoti hai. Wahan ke logon ko ehsaas nahi hua. Par jab se meri popularity badi to wahan ke logon ko art, culture, literature mein interest ane laga” (There is no awareness about fields like art and culture in place I come from. But since the time when my popularity has grown in the cinema, my village men have found an interest in art, culture and literature). He feels good to see that his success has made a room for societal change in his village. ”Ab ladke mujhe dekhte hain to unko lagta hai ki hum bhi kuch kar sakte hain life mein. Sirf gun ke alava kalam bhi chala sakte hain,”says the actor on a positive note. (Now when young boys look at me, they think that even they can achieve something better in life. They can wield a pen too besides wielding a gun).
As a person in real life…
Main sach bataun apko…main bahot hi confused insaan hoon” (Let me tell you I am a very confused person), reveals the actor very straightforwardly. Now that’s a fact hard to digest, and that too about someone, who can portray any character on-screen like a pro. “Bahot sari cheezon mein confusion rehati hai mujhe life mein” (I tend to be confused about many things in life), concludes the enigmatic Nawazuddin. Perhaps, it is better to leave knowing him better, for some other day.
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