Nawazuddin Siddiqui is doing a film with Anurag Kashyap again, and no points for guessing his character — it’s serious. His real, raw roles in intelligent films are no more a surprise, and though he gunned it with Gangs of Wasseypur, we ask the 39-year-old if he’s lately limiting his options as a ‘hero’ with too few lead roles and too much intensity.
It’s great that the Gangs team is back for your next film, Shorts, but don’t you feel like getting away from this seriousness for a bit to do the happier hero stuff? Hero banna toh sabse easy hai! Dancing around trees, wearing red shirts, glamorous show-sha ... yeh toh koi bhi kar sakta hai. Har gali mein ek hero hai. There’s nothing challenging about a starry role ... they’re all the same, too clichéd. Why should I do 50 of those films of the same kind? I’d rather take up a 9-to-5 job. I’m an actor. And this is a good time in Indian cinema to be an actor.
Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Vipin Kumar/HT photo
Do you think the story of your difficult journey to Bollywood often overshadows the success of your arrival itself?
I talk about my struggle when someone asks me about my background. But people ask me about my background only because of the success in a certain film. That’s how they know me, and want to know more about me.
Your character in this film, too, sounds grim and grave.
My character in the film is very aloof but observant, he looks at things differently. Kai baar voh baat karna chaahta hai, but ussey pata nahi hota kya bolna hai.
How much of that character are you, in real life?
I believe every character you play is actually some part of you, some more while some less. In this case, I am about 15% of it. This film is a coming together of five unknown but talented directors; we are not exactly expecting a box-office bang but are hoping it’ll be great for a certain audience.
Your family in flood-stricken Uttarakhand has been through trouble, and you’ve said you will volunteer help. How do you plan to do that, and how do you think others can be of help?
Yes, they are okay now, my brother is doing relief work and I’m going there to assist him in whatever way he wants me to. We can’t really control natural calamities, especially in a sensitive zone such as this, but humara farz hai, to help in whatever capacity we can, to not over-commercialise a place to the extent of devastation.