From 15 second roles to an entire movie and more based on a persona that the whole film fraternity is talking about — Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s journey has not been easy. It shows in his grit and in the characters he plays.
Everyone is talking about Faizal Khan — the protagonist of Gangs of Wasseypur (GOW) 2, a role Siddiqui seems to have created from shades of himself. But obvious, for this man made one of the toughest and most difficult entries into the big bad world of Bollywood where surnames and godfathers make or break an actor.
Talking about his journey from a nobody to Faizal Khan, Siddiqui says that he possibly cannot explain what sort of struggles went in to making the premise where directors were willing to place their money and faith on an actor of very little repute and zero lineage.
‘I have done 15 second roles, one minute appearances, cameos...but I did it all with all the effort I could possibly put in,’ says the actor speaking to Millennium Post.
In fact, he says that he has faced so many rejections in life that it is hard to comprehend most. From working as a chemist to a watchman to finally a critically-acclaimed actor, Siddiqui says that he stuck for there was nothing he could have done except act. ‘Mujhe aur kuch aata hi nahin tha,’ says the actor. Now, the industry is talking about him, Siddiqui is thankful that Anurag Kashyap believed in him enough to place his bets on him.
There were no big breaks for Siddiqui. ‘I got noticed for all the small roles I did,’ says the actor. Every little small appearance on screen made directors sit up and pay attention. And gradually came Kahaani, Paan Singh Tomar and GOW. And because of a history like that, Siddiqui suggests no wannabe actor should consider a role to be too small. You never know who is watching you.
Gangs of Wasseypur is not only Kashyap’s magnum opus of sorts, it is also Siddiqui’s. ‘The character of Faizal Khan will always be very important to me,’ he says and without a doubt, Bollywood will remember him for this role as we wait for another stellar performance.
Siddiqui mentions that he has always been in the directors’ attention. Tigmanshu Dhulia, who cast him for Paan Singh Tomar and later became his co-star in GOW, was a senior from National School of Drama. Kashyap had promised to cast him when a role came up that fit Siddiqui’s histrionic capacities. Not many will remember him as Rangeela in Dev D — one of the Patna ke Presley duo. GOW was a long awaited breakthrough and one that was totally worth it.
While Siddiqui admits that GOW 1 and 2 were not big budget films and they would not make it to the 100 crore club, the cast and crew is overwhelmed with the feedback and the critical acclaim. Kashyap has raised the bar on gangster films, says Siddiqui and not many directors would dare to do what Kashyap has done, feels the actor.
With Talaash, Dekh Indian Circus and Aatma in the pipeline, the joy ride in Bollywood has only just begun for Siddiqui. And for all those who know him and have met him, watched him perform – he deserves the attention he commands.