'I can never see myself as a director'

Dedicated Actor

'I can never see myself as a director'

For a man who started his acting career by doing cameo appearances in films and being unnoticed for years in Bollywood, winning the National Award and having movies like ‘Black Friday’, Gangs of Wasseypur and ‘The Lunchbox’ to his credit are certainly high points in his career.

Yet, Nawazuddin Siddiqui remains untouched by all the glitter that Bollywood has to offer.

The actor may have received his due very late in his career but Nawazuddin says that there hasn’t been a day when he felt frustrated or wanted to leave the film industry. “I have never been someone who looks at whether or not I have got my due. At the end of the day, I am getting to do what I love the most and that’s acting,” he says.

But what Nawazuddin feared was getting typecast in a particular genre. It was to avoid this trend that the actor take a break for two years. “It certainly was a risk. But luckily for me, when I returned from my break, Indian cinema had changed a lot. Many new wave directors were making quality cinema and there was an audience for that. And I was offered roles that were not only different but also that challenged me to push my boundaries,” says Nawazuddin.

And movies like ‘The Lunchbox’, Anwar ka Ajab Kissa and Manjhi - The Mountain Man by Ketan Mehta landed on his lap. ‘The Lunchbox’ gained international recognition and Anwar... too was selected in the ‘Journey Category’ for the ‘London Film Festival’ this year.

Global recognition is a proud moment for any actor. But when ‘The Lunchbox’ didn’t make it to the Oscars, disappointment loomed large among all those who were part of the film. “It was disappointing because we were strong contenders for the
Oscars. Nevertheless, I feel the appreciation that we received from the people was way bigger than the Oscar itself,” he adds.

A movie that really tested this actor, both physically and emotionally, is Manjhi - The Mountain Man. “Not only did I have to play the role of a man from the time he was 21 to 70, I also had to physically dig a mountain in the movie. Doing justice to the real man was tough. I got very involved in the character itself,” he says.

But does he ever want to direct? “I can never see myself as a director. I am happy with acting and I am enjoying every bit of it,” he says.

   Nawazuddin may not be the mainstream hero or a member of the 100-crore club but he knows how to get the audience notice him. “I don’t believe in playing the ‘formula hero’ on the screen. Though film industry is also about the money, I feel somewhere we shouldn’t forget that it is also an art. And I am in this industry to preserve and see this art grow,” he sums up.

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