The conventional conception of a Bollywood hero to entail traits such as handsome looks, dashing persona, chiseled physique, and fair skin was shattered by one man – Nawauddin Siddiqui.
Nawazuddin Has Always Been Distinct From Ordinary
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, in his own words and very appropriately, describes himself as a “kaala kaluta”, who cannot boast of a physique, looks, or personality that fit the image of a quintessential Bollywood hero. He rather boasts of how easily he becomes one in a crowd.
I don’t fit the conventional image of a Bollywood hero, no well-built physique or a pretty face. I’m a thin-framed, kaala kaluta. It’s an advantage as I can roam about freely. By the time people notice, I’m gone! -Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Nawazuddin’s Family Background
Now a Filmfare winner, Nawzuddin belongs to a family of farmers based in this village called B-U-D-H-A-N-A, in district Muzaffarnagar of Uttar Pradesh. There wasn’t much scope for education there. But somehow his siblings (7 brothers and 2 sisters) and him managed to study. In his village only three things work gehu (wheat), ganna (sugarcane), and gun. The fear this gun culture instilled made him move out of the village.
The Humble Beginnings Of Nawaz
Nawazuddin got into acting with no big ambitions. He wanted to find a job that would make his ends meet. He began his career as a chemist back in his hometown of Budhana. It is a small town in the Muzzafarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh. It was not something he liked doing but he was earning something, at least. Things changed when one day he saw a play in his village and he wanted to be one of those characters on stage.
Theatre Life & National School Of Drama:
In the words of Nawzuddin himself: It was much later that I started taking interest in theatre. After completing my studies, I took up jobs like that of a chief chemist in Baroda. Then I joined a theatre group in Delhi. Since there is no money in the theatre I had to take up a job as a watchman. All these things happened simultaneously. Then I enrolled myself in the National School of Drama (NSD), passing out in 1996. I worked in Delhi for four years before finally moving to Mumbai in 2000.
Coming to Mumbai:
Delhi had drained Nawazuddin Siddiqui financially. In the beginning, he felt it would be easy to get work in Bombay (now Mumbai). But that didn’t happen. For 4-5 years Nawaz did a lot of small roles and crowd scenes. Around this time cinema was taking a turn for the better. Directors like Anurag Kashyap were making films like Black Friday. Slowly Nawaz started getting work. In the past 3-4 years he has done some 9 films which casted him in important, central characters.
Nawaz says “I am grateful to all the films that I had been a part of, for making me a person that I am today. Every character I have played, big or small has served as an important milestone for me to learn and grow.”
Accolades and Appreciation
Siddiqui is best known for his roles in The Lunchbox (2013), which premiered as part of the International Critics’ Week at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and won him multiple awards, Manto (2018), a groundbreaking performance that won him Best Actor at the 2018 Asian Pacific Screen Awards, and Raman Raghav 2.0 for which he won the Fancine Malaga Award in Spain and in Asia Pacific Screen Awards, both in the category of Best Actor.
“Nawazuddin Siddiqui is the only Actor in the world to have 8 films officially selected and screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.”
He stars in two Emmy nominated series, Sacred Games (2019), a two-season Netflix original series for which he was conferred with the GQ – Men of the Year Award 2018 for the second time and United Kingdom’s McMafia directed by James Watkins. Recently Nawazuddin Siddiqui was awarded with the highest honorary, The Lesley Ho Asian Film Talent Award at the prestigious Singapore International Film Festival for his globally appreciated series Sacred Games duology.
Nawaz Continues Doing Great Things In The Industry
It does not even matter anymore that Siddiqui has worked with almost every hotshot of the industry. His own name is among the brightest of stars, as he joins a separate league of actors like Irrfan Khan, who are actors and not merely ‘heroes’ . Not only do they do artistically notable films, but also earn exceptionally well. The credit also goes to the directors, who dared to experiment with film making.
He is no more supporting actor now. He is taking up lead roles, he is taking up the roles of villains, and he is not letting himself be typecast.
Almost each of Nawaz’s films that is lined up for release currently deals with one social stigma/taboo or another. Perhaps that is why he is not the favourite of Pahlaj Nihalani. But when the audience loves you as much as they love Nawaz, 48 cuts by the censor board (in his upcoming film Babumoshai Bandookbaaz) seems like a battle you would want to fight. Irrespective of how baseless their argument is. We all have come to realise over the years that if the censor board is questioning you, there are high chances that you are doing something right and Nawaz for sure is doing a lot of meaningful things in the industry!
Nawazuddin’s Rise To Fame Video