Nawazuddin Siddiqui might be a star in Bollywood now, a regular in Mumbai —the film capital of India — but it is Delhi where his fling with acting bloomed into a long-term relationship. “I have worked in Delhi for seven years. I was with the National School of Drama for three years and did street plays for four years. I remember the time when people would not get enough space to rehearse at the Mandi House central park because there were so many others practising. Wo memories kabhi nahi bhuli jaati (One can’t forget those memories),” reminisces Siddiqui.
The 42-year-old says the theatre artists produced during that time belonged to a different league altogether.
I have worked in Delhi for seven years. I was with the National School of Drama for three years and did street plays for four years.
“I’m talking about the time frame between the year 1992 to 2000, the kind of artists theatre produced in those days have no comparison. There used to be no internet or mobile at that time and people were just focused on rehearsing for their roles in a play.”
Siddiqui — who has been part of Bollywood films such as Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015) and Badlapur (2015) — feels that theatre artists should be respected just as much as filmstars. “Things are the other way round internationally. In the West, Hollywood actors dream of being a part of Broadway. I am sure this attitude will come to India as well and I hope it does soon... When a Broadway artist performs in the West, everyone applauds him or her (they get attention) even if someone like (Hollywood star) Daniel Day-Lewis is present there,” says Siddiqui.