An actor should not be judged by his looks but by his talent, said National Award winning actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui in an interactive session during Saarang-2014 at IIT Madras.
Nawaz, who shot to fame a couple of years ago with his roles in films like Kahaani and Gangs of Wasseypur, shared his experience of being rejected every time and everywhere. Hailing from a small town called Budhana in Uttar Pradesh, Nawaz started his career as a theatre artiste after completing his course from the National School of Drama. He said, “Nobody told me that a graduate doesn’t get a job. After graduation, I had nothing to do and I thought if I have to spend days without eating, why not in Bombay.”
Amid laughter and cheerful shouts, he said that he acted in C grade films before coming to Bollywood. He also said that while he was struggling, he made friends with a few filmmakers who were trying to get a break in the industry. He said, “Whenever I asked them, what does one need to become a hero, I always got the reply as six packs, ability to do stunts, good looks, height and so on, but no one said acting.” He added that people rejected him, saying that he did not have the looks, the height or body.
Nawaz, who spoke to the students in Hindi, repeated his dialogues on requests.
The very favourite of almost all Nawaz fans is probably the way he says, ‘Out’ to Inspector Rana in Kahaani. His very first dialogue during the session was a famous one from Gangs of Wasseypur, for which students stood up clapping, shouting and whistling.
Nawaz also showed the promo of his two upcoming films for the first time — Manjhi-The Mountain Man, directed by Ketan Mehta and Miss Lovely, directed by Ashim Ahluwalia, to the surprise of those present.
He said while Manjhi, which was based on a true story would release in the middle of this year, Miss Lovely, a low-budget realistic film will release on January 17. He also shared the experience of acting in Manjhi, in which he plays the role of a man who carved a road through a mountain in memory of his wife.
He talked about method acting and how he did the characterisation for all his characters once the script was ready.
“Who says acting can’t be learnt? It can be if one is trained properly,” he asserted. He also said that his role model was actor Manoj Bajpai.
His answer to almost every question was, “Achcha tha experience (Experience was good).” He revealed that he would get nervous and confused while talking to the public, thinking whether he was right or wrong.
He also shared the story of his love interest. who was from a village and who had no time for him as she wanted to watch TV. He recalled telling her, “Tujhe TV pe aake dikhaunga ek din (I will come on television one day).”
When one of the students asked him about his role in The Lunch Box, in which he plays an irritating character, he said, “Actually, I have a friend like that and I remember he messaged after watching the movie, saying thank you.”
He also added that the same friend who was also an actor, was asked to enact a scene again by a filmmaker. He was constantly interrupted by the director, who kept saying ‘cut’. Finally, after many takes he asked the director what his mistake was, as the dialogues were right. The director said that Nawaz had already done the same in The Lunch Box, and asked him to do something else and not copy him. To this, his friend replied, “Sir, I am the original, he is the one to copy.”