In National Award-winning director Mangesh Hadawle’s next film, Dekh Indian Circus, Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays a mute character. He didn’t, however, undertake any special training. “I’ve met a lot of people like Jethu (his character) in my village. They have sharp reflexes and an ability to express themselves through minimum gestures. Being a villager, Jethu wouldn’t have learnt sign language, so I just had to ensure my facial expressions and gestures weren’t too exaggerated or underplayed,” he says.
The actor lauds Sanjeev Kumar’s portrayal of a deaf-mute in Koshish (1972) as “extraordinary and realistic”. He’s also all praises for Ranbir Kapoor in Barfi! (he’s seen the trailer), describing him “as one of the best actors of this generation” and his movements “as correct and perfectly balanced”. However, he won’t comment on Tusshar Kapoor’s mute act, saying he hasn’t seen the Golmaal films.
On his part, Nawaz spoke only when he was in his vanity van during the shoot in Jaisalmer; he didn’t even speak on his phone. “On the sets I communicated only through sounds and gestures. Many of the locals actually believed I was a mute from one of the neighbouring villages. In fact, on the first day, when the unit was having lunch, I was even told by the contractors to eat with the crowd and I did,” smiles the actor.
The film opens on October 7. Nawaz hopes to arrange a special show for the people who he took inspiration from. It premiered at the 16th Busan International Film Festival and bagged the Audience Choice Award. At Stuttgart, he had to go on stage and convince people that he could speak.