He is the poster boy for strong, superlative performances in new-age Bollywood. And even as Nawazuddin Siddiqui continues to charm with his realistic performances in smaller films, he has surprised critics and audiences alike with his role in Salman Khan-starrer, Kick.
We get him talking about commercial cinema versus ‘his kind’ of films, and his plans for farming.
How did you family react to your latest film?
My mother watched the film, but more than my acting, she is happy to see that I have worn good clothes in it. She won’t understand the nuances of my performance, but she is elated that I have donned expensive clothes (on screen) and worn heavy makeup. My youngest brother is a big fan of Salman Khan. So I don’t even ask him whether he liked my performance. After watching Salman’s films, he always tells me: ‘Main to Salman bhai ko dekhne gaya tha’ (I went to watch Salman’s performance).
Also read: Nawazuddin Siddiqui overpowers Salman Khan in Kick
We heard you are renovating your family home back in the village (Muzaffarnagar, UP).
I had been thinking about it for a long time. Since it’s my old family house where my parents and my brothers still live, I am getting it renovated.
Apparently, you want to take up farming as well.
It had always been on my mind. I want to buy a small piece of land where I can go and do some farming whenever I have free time. It will only refresh me as a person. I used to do it earlier, too. So, I want to work in Mumbai, and travel up-and-down to work on my land. Till now, I haven’t bought the land but plans are afoot. I might buy it in my village or somewhere close to Mumbai.
I used to farm around 20 or 25 years back. It’s my dream to go back [to it]. It’s on my mind. I am anyways from a farmer family. When I travel to my village, I feel like time has stopped. Nobody is in a tearing hurry to run or work. It gives me a feeling that everything is fine.
Did you have to alter your acting style for Kick?
I have never understood the difference. I have acted in Kick as in well as other films, but I have never thought that while one is a commercial film, and another is an art-house or indie film, so my approach should be different. I have worked as hard, and as diligently in Kick as in any other film. Ultimately, our aim is to reach the audience. But in our industry, there’s a habit of tagging actors. And most of the times, they aren’t able to come out of it. But, the kind of respect I have got while doing Kick is unparalleled.
How do you see the success of your recent big-budget release helping you in the future?
It has brought in a lot of appreciation, so my forthcoming smaller films should benefit from that. Also, my other films’ audiences should grow.
You seem hopeful…
Till now, my [career] trajectory has been different. I have been doing smaller films. Generally, they do the rounds of film festivals and when they create enough buzz, they get a theatrical release. But now, I hope, people will pick ‘Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s films’ more readily.
How important is commercial success for you?
Commercial films are important for every actor. Otherwise, you’ll stay aloof from a very large world of films out there. I have decided that every one or two years,
I will do one or two films like Kick. A big commercial film helps you reach out to a large number of people.
But your focus will always be on smaller offbeat films, right?
I will continue doing the kinds of films that I have done so far. But you can’t ignore the reach that movies starring Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan or Aamir Khan have. Also, I feel an actor should be open to doing all kinds of films.
Was Kick out of your comfort zone?
All my roles are out of my comfort zone. I refuse to do films that are within my comfort zone. As an actor, it’s important for a role to excite you.