Despite being one of the most celebrated names in Bollywood currently, Nawazuddin Siddiqui maintains a low profile.
That’s why the actor feels it was “very unfortunate” that his name was dragged in a controversy, when an FIR was recently lodged against him for allegedly assaulting a woman in the parking lot of his residential society in Andheri.
“I’m just an artiste. I never imagined that I’d ever have to go through such an ordeal. I have always focused only on my work. So, when that incident happened, it left me shaken and surprised. But now, I have become very aware about a lot of things,” he says.
Respect for women
Ask him if celebrities are easy targets, and he says, “Why just celebrities? It (the incident) makes me think that even a common man can be targeted easily. Having said that, I respect women — including the one who made allegations against me — as much as I respect my mother, sister, wife and even my daughter,” says Nawazuddin.
The 41-year-old actor says that usually, he doesn’t pay attention to “anything controversial in life”. “But you do get disturbed when false allegations are levelled against you. I am not a robot; such controversies do affect me. It’s saddening, especially when you aren’t at fault,” he says.
Praise from Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan, who recently finished shooting for film-maker Sujoy Ghosh’s next with the actor, praised him. He said that he is “an admirer” of Nawazuddin’s work. Talking about how it felt when Big B admired his acting skills, the actor says, “I feel great, because I have been watching his work since childhood. I learnt so much from him while shooting. He is 70 plus, but his energy level is double of mine. Sometimes, I wonder what drives him even now. During the shoot, sometimes, I’d get mentally exhausted. But Bachchan saab wouldn’t rest until a scene was completed even if it took over four hours,” says Nawazuddin.
While the actor is happy to have received praise from Bachchan, he also feels awkward about it. “It feels awkward, because he is a perfect actor. He is so active at this age. It’s a huge compliment for me. I really enjoyed working with him, since his character is fascinating. I was inspired by the truthfulness with which he plays his part,” he says.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui started 2015 with Badlapur, and followed it up with Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Manjhi — The Mountain Man. This year, he plans to take things to the next level. “Every actor hopes for improvement in his or her work. At least an effort is made to achieve that. I am also planning to do the same. You always hope that your performances appear more impactful because you are your biggest competitor. My effort is to always do something different from what I have done earlier,” he says.Interestingly, the actor has again teamed up with film-maker Anurag Kashyap, with whom he did his breakthrough movie, Gangs Of Wasseypur (2012).
“When I work with Anurag, everything is so unpredictable, which is always thrilling. There are a lot of unknown areas and situations that we try and tap into, together. I wasn’t expecting him to make me do such a role [in our next]. For the first time, I have ventured into such a territory,” he says.
On the other hand, despite being lauded for his performances time and again, Nawazuddin reveals that popular awards don’t affect him that much. “I still have trust in the National Awards, and a few others. But if you notice, everyone feels the same way about popular awards. No one even gets impressed or affected after bagging them. Whether you get them or not, it doesn’t matter. So, the pride after getting an award has diluted a lot over the years. It’s very sad, but it’s true,” he says.