At the launch of ‘Nawaznama’, a crowd of over 400 people sit eagerly to hear the story (yet to be penned down) of an actor who was, initially, not really accepted by the film fraternity because of his unconventional looks. Not many know his debut film was Sarfarosh in which he plays a 50 sec role. Now he is one of Bollywood’s most in-demand character actors who has worked with the best in the industry. Here are some snippets from the launch of his soon to-be-released memoir.
“His life has been fascinating ” says Rituparna Chatterjii, co -author of Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s memoir, “and this book is organic…We are trying our best to take into account every incident of his life”
“When I came to Delhi for NSD, after completing my higher studies in Haridwar, the environment here was different. Once I remember watching a girl smoking, and I thought this girl can do anything. I came from a small village it was a bit of cultural shock to me. ” says Nawazuddin Siddiqui on being asked how different Delhi was, ” I spent 7 years in Delhi,so my perception changed as I saw more of the city”
“We only did plays near Mandi House, ITO and use to have our lunch in paranthe waali shop in ITO. These were our haunts.” says Nawaz on life in Delhi.
Nawaz said he didn’t really have that many friends in NSD (National School of Drama. And now, it’s more difficult to ascertain who is a friend and who isn’t, he said with a chuckle.
He wasn’t very successful in the girlfriend department. He says, “That was my failed department. Once I took a girl to the park when I got guts, and I said I want to be friends with her and kept my hand on her hand she took her hand back and said this is illegal. The moment I heard “illegal ” I thought next she would file an FIR against me”.
About his experience in Bombay he said, everyone struggles as an actor, they (the actors) use to go to offices and stand in queues and whenever they got the opportunity to showcase their talent, they did, even if it was on the road. And they would then say “haa theek toh tha par kuch samjh nhi aaya”.
We had to ask: Wasn’t there any point where he felt like leaving it all and going back home?
“Many times. Many times I felt. But then my return ticket would be of Delhi and I use to do drama and street plays again. Even people use to say then “aa gye bhaiya wapas”. At that time I never thought I would become such a big actor. Anyone today can be star but being an actor you have to learn to act. You have to be honest with yourself and with your work. An actor not doing anything is very dangerous.”
“When I saw him in Bypass(2003) I was scared. He looked scarier than Faizal Khan. In the movie he’s so dark. ” says Rituparna Chatterjii on her initial perception of Nawazadduin.
On his most difficult role, Nawazuddin said it was in Gangs Of Wasseypur. People say my role in Kahaani would have been difficult to pull it off, but it wasn’t because that is how he grew up as a kid. GOW was difficult was because it was a very endearing role. He can’t imagine killing anyone. For the movie he spent 15 days with the gangsters, came back to the hotel and locked myself in his room for 4 hours and went to Bombay. The next day the shoot started.
“I need a gap to detach myself from the character. It takes away something with it. When I read news of murders and killings, it doesn’t surprise me now. My life feels dry, at certain point”, says Nawazuddin on why he needs a break between films.
On his experience of doing blockbusters with the three King Khans? “The environment is good. Every star has a different way of doing things. Amitabh Bachchan is professional, he learns his dialogues and is very serious. Same is for SRK. Salman has a different story,” remarks the actor.
Has life changed for the now successful actor? He says nothing much at a personal level. His way of life hasn’t changed but some aspects have.
Nawaz said he used to dream of going about places, roaming around and find peace with self. Today in the most unexpected places people come to him and ask ‘aur sab badhiya?’
Does he feel like going back to his village? “No. Not there. People act in a certain way there. They’ll say “oye idhar aa, photo khichwani hai tere saath” and hold you by collar and pull you from all corners.”
For Rituparna the book focuses on every aspect, and people and situations which were part of his life and helped him be what he is. There is one full chapter on girls. One on Anurag Kashyap. One on family. The rest we will have to wait for the book’s release.
What’s so special about Anurag Kashyap, the audience asked? Nawaz says,” I have known him since 2000. You get good vibes when he’s around. He makes you so confident…. You just can’t explain. He’s something…kuch hai. Kya bolu ab”? This was met with laughter from the audience.
And then on one request from a member ion the audience he does the introductory scene from Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Then, there came an unexpected bit of rain. The rain brought everyone so close together that it was hard to find out where amongst the crowd Bollywood star Nawazuddin Siddique was. And that’s what’s special about the actor.