I was a rejected actor: Nawazuddin Siddiqui
It has taken him 12 years to understand the game called Bollywood. After bagging the Special Jury Award for his work in films like ‘Kahaani’, ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, ‘Talaash’ and ‘Dekh Indian Circus’, Nawazuddin Siddiqui is nonchalant. He couldn’t do TV and therefore, took to films, he tells us. There too things have been far from easy. Excerpts:
Who broke the news to you?
I was at home. The narration of a film was on, plus, I was busy with the team of Aatma, discussing the promotions. I had no clue that my films were been considered by the National Awards jury. Even the TV was not switched on. Then I receive a congratulatory message. Before I could read it, many more starting pouring in. It was totally unexpected. Mujhe pata nahin tha, ek bhi film gayi hai, kaun si film gayi hai.
How are you planning to celebrate?
I’ll be going to Delhi for the promotions of Aatma. I’ll be celebrating with the team.
Any compliment that you treasure the most?
Bahut saare compliments mile… Vidya, Bipasha — all of them sent me messages saying it was well-deserved. It’s a happy feeling.
Kahaani released last year. Before that, there must have been a long period of struggle.
Very long. After graduating from National School of Drama, I started doing theatre in Delhi. But there was not much money in Hindi theatre. Maine socha bhukha marna hai toh Mumbai mein jaake marun. So, I came down to Mumbai. Coming from a small town, I didn’t have big dreams. My biggest ambition was to find a job for myself. Time ke saath chalta gaya… hamare town mein batane wala koi tha nahin… I thought of starting out with bit roles in TV serials. Then came Ekta Kapoor and her hit formula was adopted by many. Tab ek episode ek hi din mein shoot karke channel ko bhejna padta tha. Par mere jaise actors ko lene se dedh din lag jata, kyunki zyada light lagana padta (laughs out loud).
Tab toh gore gore actors ka trend tha. I had a six feet tall body builder friend. He landed himself the role of a beggar in a serial. When I saw him do that, I realised television is not for me. Then, I thought of trying my luck in films. Pehli film mein ek minute ek second ka role mila, phir ek minute doh seconds, phir ek minute pachas seconds. Films didn’t happen by chance and I too wasn’t prepared, koi lottery nahin lagi thi. Phir baad mein game samajh mein aya. Uss mein 12 saal lag gaya…
So, how did fortune change?
Kuchh saal pehle, I was looked down upon as a rejected actor. But then, Indian cinema changed. A lot of young directors started experimenting with films over the past three years. New actors also eventually found a foothold in the industry. Those who were not taken seriously before, were being taken seriously. I got to enjoy the fruits of this change.
Talking about you, Rituparno Ghosh who also won the Special Jury Award for Chitrangada, said, “He’s one of the finest actors around”
I’m elated. Rituparno Ghosh is a legendary director and I happen to be a huge fan of his. It’s an honour sharing the award with him. I’ve watched many of his films. I remember watching Raincoat right after its release. His talent can’t be measured by any one film. Given a chance, I would love to work with him.