The Bollywood film industry suffered a setback when it lost two renowned actors – Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor – this year.
The film fraternity is in deep grief as it lost these two iconic in a row but often our sorrow turns into joy. Today marks the birthday of Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who rose to fame from oblivion and became one of the most renowned stars today.
Early life and education
Nawazuddin Siddiqui was born in 1974 in Budhana, a small town of Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh, where his father is a farmer. Siddiqui grew up amongst nine siblings, seven brothers and two sisters.
After graduating in science from a local college, he worked as a chemist in a petrochemical company for a short while. He moved to Delhi, where in the next one and a half year period, he started watching plays, while working a watchman at an office.
He was associated with Sakshi Theatre Group and worked with actors like Manoj Bajpai and Saurabh Shukla. Eventually, he graduated from the National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi in 1996.
After graduating from NSD, he moved to Mumbai. Nawazuddin made his Bollywood debut in 1999, with a small role in Sarfarosh starring Aamir Khan.
He moved to Mumbai and tried to get work in television but did not achieve much success. After his debut, he appeared in short roles, where he remained unnoticed despite his strong performances. He did a short film, The Bypass. in 2003, where he appeared with actor, Irrfan Khan.
Between 2002 and 2005, he was out of work, living in an apartment which he shared with four others, and struggled through his acting career by conducting occasional acting workshops.
Entry into films
His appearance in Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday (2007) paved way for other powerful roles. His first lead role in a feature film was in Prashant Bhargava’s Pantang, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival.
Nawazuddin’s performance was praised by the world-renowned film critic Roger Ebert, a role which transformed his acting styles. In 2009, he appeared in a cameo role in the movie Dev D.
It was his role of a journalist in Peepli Live (2010) which first got him recognition as an actor. This was followed by a role as a police informer Gopi in the biopic, Paan Singh Tomar, in the same year.
Siddiqui became a household name after Kahaani (2012), where he played a short-tempered cop. This was followed by Gangs of Wasseypur which furthered his fame.
He played his first lead role as Sonu Duggal in Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely that premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, a role Nawazuddin describes as his “most real performance so far.”
Gangs of Wasseypur to Sacred Games
Nawazuddin also played a lead role in his following films, Gangs of Wasseypur – Part II and Aatma. He appeared in Aamir Khan’s 2012 release, Talash.
Gangs of Wasseypur has been touted as a career-defining film for Nawazuddin, where he played the role of Faizal Khan, the second son of Sardar Khan, played by Manoj Bajpai.
His style of dress, magnificent accent and mannerism in Gangs of Wasseypur left an impression on Bollywood critics. His film Patang, initially released in the US and Canada, garnered much attention for Nawazuddin with rave reviews from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Roger Ebert.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is best known for his role in The Lunchbox (2013), which premiered as part of the International Critics’ Week at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and won him multiple awards.
Among his famous works is Manto (2018) directed by Nandita Das for which he did not charge even a single rupee. His groundbreaking performance won him Best Actor at the 2018 Asian Pacific Screen Awards.
Fame and Achievement
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is the only actor in the world having 8 films officially selected and screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Despite of being very busy with film shoots, Siddiqui continues to take time out to do farming in his native place in Uttar Pradesh.
He is also a motivational speaker, drawing on his struggles and experiences to inspire. He starred in two Emmy nominated series, Sacred Games (2019), a two-season Netflix original series.
Nawazuddin continues to dominate the film with his versatile film acting and gives competition to veterans such as Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Amir Khan. Today, he turns 46 but has a long way to go into the film industry.