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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Nawazuddin Siddiqui: Aam janta bhi hero aur heroine ko gora dekhna chahti hai

Nawazuddin Siddiqui says films and the industry only reflect the biases society entertains. Mentality overhaul needed, to bring about a change.

bollywood Updated: Aug 01, 2019 12:01 IST
Shreya Mukherjee
Shreya Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is set to reprise his role of a gangster in Sacred Games 2.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is set to reprise his role of a gangster in Sacred Games 2.
         

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is much like the characters he portrays on screen — strong, gritty and ready to take the risk. Not one to let the box office guide his film choices, he lays importance on satiating the artiste within even if that won’t set the cash register ringing. “Cinema is an art form... I can make mistakes, but can’t afford to compromise on what I create,” says the 45-year-old, who has made a mark for himself in films. Even with his web debut, the actor left an impressionable mark with the original series Sacred Games that saw him portray the role of a gangster, which he will soon reprise in its season 2. With the awareness that his unconventional looks might not please a society that obsesses over fair skin, Nawaz chose to shut detractors with his stellar performances.

Excerpts:

You have often spoken about facing biases related to skin colour, appearances in the industry. Have things changed?

Not just the film industry, such taboos exist everywhere. Things won’t change anytime soon. And in Bollywood, it’s rampant, it has always been there. Waise aam janta bhi apni heroine ko gori, aur hero ko gora dekhna chahti hai... Maa bhi chahti hai ki beta gori bahu le kar aaye. So, it’s all a part of society. This mentality reflects in Bollywood... A total change is required.

Manto (2018), Thackeray and Photograph (both this year) — none of these did well at the box office. What went wrong?

When I did Manto or Photograph, I knew not many would understand these films. Somewhere I knew that box office result might not be satisfactory because the language of such films is a little different. Even the pace of Photograph is not something that everyone would be able to relate to. Thackeray, too, had its own reason [for not doing well at BO]. But as an actor, I’d continue making these films even if they don’t work. Kuch films aapke dil ke kareeb hoti hain, jiski sensibility aapse match karti hai...

 

Aren’t you concerned about BO success or failure, apparently that’s what makes one commercially viable?

Of course, it’s painful when films don’t work. It makes me think ‘why people didn’t watch them?’ Phir sochta hoon ki koi shaadi-biyah wali, romantic ya action film kar leta hoon.. chal jayegi... audience ko wahi acchi lagti hain, tabhi toh aisi filmein chalti bhi hain... But then, I also need to satisfy my creative urge. My intention is to make good films; hopefully I’ll be understood in the long run.

Do you mean to say that a large part of the audience is not ready for such films yet?

The audience here has got used to fast-paced films. Kabhi-kabhi lagta hai ki audience samajhdar ho gayi hai par shayad abhi bhi samay hai... Aur kabhi-kabhi hum kuch aagey ka soch ke film bana lete hain, aur audience thoda peeche reh jaate hain. And the example would be Guru Dutt saab. His films didn’t do well when he was making them. Now a lot of people would say they have watched his films, he is a genius and what not, just to show off their good taste in films. Same happened for Roma (. When it went to Venice Film Festival and then received Oscars, people started taking interest in it. So, unless it becomes sensational, many don’t watch such films.

Meanwhile, there are reports that you will be doing filmmaker Honey Trehan’s next that also stars your The Lunchbox co-star, Irrfan. Is that true?

Honey and I had a discussion. The project is at a nascent stage. And I have also heard that [Irrfan] might be part of it. But nothing has been finalised yet. I just finished my web series, then I have Bole Chudiyan and Sudhir Mishra’s Serious Men. I’m also doing a film called No Lands Man, directed by Bangladeshi filmmaker Mustafa Sarwar Farooqui.

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