Nawazuddin Siddiqui – A watchman then… A Bollywood hero now
Good looks, perfectly sculpted body, trained in singing, dancing and martial arts, a flamboyant filmy family and the tag “Kapoor” or “Khan” or “Bhatt” suffixing the name plus being in the public eye for all ridiculous reasons. These are prerequisites needed for anybody to mark an entry into Bollywood especially into mainstream commercial cinema. But with the rise of parallel and cross-over cinema audience are enthralled to see reel life characters that prove to be a threat to such stereotype notions. Just imagine, a hero who doesn’t own six packs for Christ’s sake!!
If it is a pleasure to watch a hero, without a tinge of unnecessary on-screen glamour then it is Nawazuddin Siddiqui. He doesn’t own an outlook like that of his counterparts but with some remarkable performance and flawless acting capabilities Siddiqui has proved to be the actor who has got his skills in place. Also unlike others he has his own story of from rags to riches – a trail of sweat, tears and struggles.
Nawazz, as he is fondly called, belongs to an ordinary middle class Muslim family in a shabby town called Budhana, Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. Being the son of a farmer, eight siblings and a humble household didn’t keep him confined to a mundane small-town life for he believed in fulfilling his dreams with destiny gripped tight in his fist. He graduated from Haridwar University and started to work in a petrochemical factory. But then boredom crept in and eventually took him to Delhi only to work as a watchman. The good thing is that he started watching numerous theatre plays and an interest in theatre sprouted within him. He even worked in a play and one thing lead to another and by the time he graduated from the National School of Drama in 1996, there was no looking back.
Like every other artist in the country Siddiqui headed to the city of dreams and stardom – Mumbai. Though he debuted in a small role in Shool with another acclaimed actor Manoj Bajpai in 1999 his career graph drastically slide down. He ran out of work only because he didn’t ‘look like an actor’ for many movie makers who weren’t too interested in his talent.
Like every dark cloud has a silver lining Siddiqui’s talents was finally noticed by the right people. Be it the short-tempered IB Officer in Kahani or an apprentice in Lunch Box or his brilliant performance in Gangs of Wasseypur 1 and 2, Siddiqui’s immense talent does all the talking. It wasn’t at all surprising when he bagged awards for Lunch Box and Talaash. His work has been noticed and appreciated at international film festivals. Now an inside B-town joke is, “If you want take your movie to the Oscar or Cannes you ought to have Nawazuddin Siddiqui in it.” Not to mention he has essayed roles in commercially hit movies like Kick and Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is the new face of cross-over, intense and meaningful cinema. He is also the perfect reminder of the words – “It’s never too late to live your dreams.”