Nawazuddin Siddiqui birthday special: Honesty and acute understanding make the actor a force to reckon with | bollywood | Hindustan Times
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Nawazuddin Siddiqui birthday special: Honesty and acute understanding make the actor a force to reckon with

On Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s birthday, we analyse his thought process that helped him achieve success in a largely star-driven industry.

bollywood Updated: May 19, 2018 09:35 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Happy Birthday Nawazuddin Siddiqui! The actor turns 44 on Saturday.
Happy Birthday Nawazuddin Siddiqui! The actor turns 44 on Saturday.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui tasted major success when he was 37. The year 2012 saw a complete change in his outlook. Films like Gangs Of Wasseypur, Talaash and Kahaani gave him what he was striving for since 1999, when he appeared in a a blink-and-miss-it role in Sarfarosh.

But success hasn’t changed him. In an interview with Hindustan Times Brunch earlier this year, he opened up about his thought process. He said, “I have not changed. I wear similar clothes to those I wore as a junior artist, but today people think my clothes must be fashionable since I am wearing them!”

This statement is both sarcastic and confident. It speaks volumes about Nawazuddin’s understanding of the situation. He knows everything has changed and yet nothing has changed. He does both kinds of films -- ones that are unique chances of evaluating his acting prowess, and the others where he gets the eyeballs. While he does films like Kick and Raees, he is also seen in The Lunchbox and Raman Raghav 2.0.

Lately, he has also been signing films such as Freaky Ali and Babumoshai Bandookbaaz that firmly keep him in the commercial space as the solo lead. It’s a healthy mix as these films provide the much needed opportunity to break out from the stereotypes.

He understands it more than anybody else. In an earlier interview for Hindustan Times, he said, “Whenever I feel that I have reached a saturation point, I put myself into a new position. I took a break from films to do some reporting job during the last parliamentary elections. There I had to come up with impromptu performances without any script. My emphasis is on shocking the audience, doing all sorts of roles.”

He is doing that. If he changed his get-up in Mom, he shocked most of us by signing Bal Thackeray. There were questions raised on his choice about signing a biopic that’s produced by someone close to the subject. But he defended his selection as an actor. While promoting Manto, a biopic on writer Saadat Hasan Manto, he also talked about the Thackeray biopic.

He told PTI, “I will play Thackeray with the same honesty with which I have sought to play Manto.” This is his strength, adapting as per the situation.

He is doing cameos not many established actors would do. In Lion, he played a child abuser. It was a small role by all yardsticks, but Nawazuddin did it with his characteristic vigour. This is what makes him different. He looks at the impact of the role and not its length.

He didn’t have to appear in Mukkabaaz song, but he probably wanted the audience to recall the Dev D reference. That’s his charm, he knows how to make his presence felt. Ask those who watched Bajrangi Bhaijaan for him.

He is a chameleon. He can shift gears before you anticipate. Calling him just a terrific actor wouldn’t be justice for his talent. He lives the roles he signs up for. This is the art he has perfected, on and off-screen.

No wonder, he called photoshoots part of his acting assignments. In the same Brunch interview, he said, “Photo shoots are also acting, and you need to be serious about them. If you focus on other things, your craft suffers.”

Your craft isn’t suffering Nawazuddin Siddiqui, not with the kind of releases you have lined up.

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