Nawazuddin Siddiqui may have achieved the star-status in Bollywood, but what he hasn’t got is the insecurity of being one.
“I’m not scared of losing all that I have earned. I came to Mumbai with Rs 3,000 and even if I have to leave this place with the same amount of money in my pocket, I don’t think it will be a bad deal,” says the 41-year-old. In fact, he’s one of the few who don’t demand a certain fee to act in a film, and usually take whatever the producers offer.
“I don’t have to demand a price. The producers of my films are very smart, they know exactly how much actors charge. If I demand [an unreasonable fee], no one will give it to me. This industry knows an actor’s worth. As it is, I didn’t come here to earn money. If I only wanted to earn money, I would have stayed back in my village (Budhana, Uttar Pradesh). We have a lot of land, and I could have easily started a mill there,” he says.
Nawazuddin, who has had stellar performances in films such as Gangs Of Wasseypur (2012), The Lunchbox (2013) and Badlapur (2015), is conscious of people’s heightened expectations of him. “It becomes your responsibility to perform when people start expecting a certain level of work from you. I try not to choose roles for the heck of doing a film. I also don’t want to corrupt myself by thinking that now I have arrived, even though people say I have. I don’t want to think that I can do whatever I want, and people will still say good things about me,” says the actor.
Hence, it’s no surprise when Nawaz says that it doesn’t matter if or not he is playing the lead role. “When I started acting, I never thought I will get lead roles someday. But today, I’m playing a central character in Ritesh Batra’s next. If a story demands me in the lead, I will do it. But not think of it as the lead. For me, it’s only a character.”