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Thackeray and beyond: How Bollywood’s Faisal, Nawazuddin Siddiqui went global and emerged as anti-hero

Starting with bit roles in films like Sarfarosh and Munna Bhai MBBS, Nawazuddin Siddiqui first tasted success in Vidya Balan’s Kahaani. With Gangs of Wasseypur 2, Lunchbox and Sacred Games, there was no looking back.

bollywood Updated: Jan 26, 2019 08:51 IST
Ruchi Kaushal
Ruchi Kaushal
Hindustan Times
Nawazuddin Siddiqui,Bal Thackeray,Thackeray movie
Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Bal Thackeray.

Love him for his flawless performances or hate him for the dark roles where he gets into the skin of character but you can’t ignore actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The dark horse of Bollywood has carved his own distinct place in the industry slowly and steadily. From playing roles too minor to be mentioned in credits, this actor from a nondescript village in Uttar Pradesh has come a long way indeed. As he plays the late Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray in the eponymous biopic, here is looking at his career graph.

Also see: Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Thackeray is not a whitewash, it’s a confession. 1 star

Nawazuddin started his career playing bit roles in films such as Sarfarosh, Munna Bhai MBBS and Peepli Live. His first big break came as a police officer in Vidya Balan’s blockbuster Kahaani. However, it would be as Faizal Khan in the two Gangs of Wasseypur films that he truly found his mojo. It brought him awards, recognition and -- that most precious of all commodities — starring parts.

The year 2012 was a turning point in his career as Gangs of Wasseypur 2 was screened at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. Another of his critically acclaimed films, Miss Lovely, competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival. It was also screened at Toronto International Film Festival and International Film Festival, Rotterdam.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui poses during the trailer launch of the biographical drama Hindi film Thackeray in Mumbai on December 26, 2018. ( AFP )

There was more to follow. His 2013 film Lunchbox not just made it to Cannes but also won the Critics Week Viewers Choice Award. Despite the spotlight being on Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin held his own in the film. It was also nominated for the Best Film Not in the English Language category of the British Academy Film Awards 2015.

From playing significant roles in blockbusters to tailer-made roles in smaller films, Nawazuddin has portrayed the art of balancing performance-oriented and popular roles. Besides playing prominent roles alongside Bollywood A-listers, he also emerged as the anti-hero and found praise for the same. Apart from playing the antagonist in Varun Dhawan’s Badlapur and Salman Khan’s Kick, as well as a significant role in Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees, he also played the title role with grey shades in films such as Raman Raghav 2.0, Babumoshai Bandookbaaz and Haraamkhor. Nawazuddin also impressed his fans with his persistent spirit in Manjhi: The Mountain Man which collected Rs 12.53 crore at the box office. With such a rainbow of roles and films in his filmography, Nawazuddin made sure to make it big without being wary of the characters he played.

The actor had once told Hindustan Times in an interview, “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.”

Apart from going global and making a mark in Bollywood, Nawazuddin has also made his south debut by starring in Rajinikanth’s Petta. The actor has finally chosen to play the hero again with his title role in Manto and now Thackeray.

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First Published: Jan 26, 2019 08:50 IST