The actor turned 48 today
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, one of the finest actors in the Hindi film industry, has it all. The 48-year-young artiste is versatile, talented, dedicated and patient. His perseverance and respect for his craft has earned him love and admiration from his audience.
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Hailing from the small town of Budhana, Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, Nawazuddin Siddiqui is a self-made star in the truest sense. Time and again, he has proved his mettle, churning out movies like ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, ‘Manjhi’, ‘Kahaani’, ‘Raman Raghav, Manto’ and ‘Thackeray.’
Despite having the looks of a seemingly inconspicuous actor, Nawazuddin has managed to carve out a huge space for himself in the film industry.
Drawn to acting
Born on May 19, 1974, Nawazuddin hails from a zamindari Muslim family in Budhana. His family is into farming and continues to do so. Nawazuddin is the eldest of eight siblings and the first to graduate in Chemistry from Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya in Haridwar.
After his graduation, Nawazuddin worked as a chemist for some time in Vadodara before moving to Delhi, where he was drawn to acting.
Nawazuddin joined the National School of Drama (NSD) in Delhi. After graduating, Nawazuddin did theatre and street plays for some time in Delhi.
Later, toeing the trail of his most of his seniors from NSD, Nawazuddin moved to Mumbai. The real struggle began here.
A place for alpha males
Nawazuddin arrived in Mumbai in the 1990s. The worst years of his struggle were between 2002 and 2005, when he hardly had any work, shared the flat with four others and survived by doing acting workshops occasionally. Sometimes, he had to borrow money from friends, the actor said.
“That was the time when Indian television was inclined towards glossy looks and started decking up its actors. There was no place for people like us,” Nawazuddin told The Indian Express in 2012.
At one time, he had approached a senior from NSD to allow him to stay with him, for this he obliged only on the condition that Nawazuddin cooked twice a day, Your Story reported.
In the meantime, the audiences noticed Nawazuddin in cameos and supporting roles, including in Aamir Khan's Sarfarosh in 1999.
The big break came when Anurag Kashyap cast him for ‘Black Friday’ (2004). His film Patang, where he played a wedding singer, was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival.
Another movie that was well appreciated was ‘Peepli Live’, where Nawazuddin played a journalist.
The role he aspired to do
Nawaz was in Budhana for his brother’s wedding when Kashyap called him to offer him a role.
“The interesting fact is I had never told him what I wanted to do,” Nawazuddin told Indian Express. But this is the kind of role that he had always wanted to do.
The film was ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’. Nawazuddin played the third generation of a coal mafia family in Dhanbad. There was no looking back from here.
From life instances to movies
Once, Nawazuddin asked an NSD junior out. While at the park, he slyly placed his hand over hers. “Kahin bhi rakh doge? Permission toh leni chahiye,” the girl said in Hindi, making it clear that Nawaz should have asked for her permission before placing his hand on hers.
In ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, Huma Qureshi, playing the role of Mohsina, re-enacted the scene.
“Anurag loved the idea. He wanted it in the film,” Nawazuddin told OPEN magazine in 2012.
This week, Nawazuddin was spotted in a black tuxedo, flanked by filmmakers Shekhar Kapur, actor R Madhavan, and Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur. He walked the red carpet at the 75th Cannes Film Festival as part of the Indian delegation to the prestigious event.
But this was not his first visit to Cannes. He has been there for movies like ‘Lunchbox, Monsoon Shootout’ and ‘Bombay Talkies’. Nawazuddin has won accolades from all over the world for this contribution to cinema. In 2019, celebrated author Paulo Coelho also lauded the actor and asked his followers to watch Sacred Games on Netflix, news agency PTI reported.
Despite being a popular name in Bollywood, Nawazuddin still loves and enjoys farming. He wants to teach farmers new techniques that would help them improve their lives.
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(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)
First Published: IST