|Bollywood Star Nawazuddin Siddiqui|
Frequently asked questions by aspiring actors who are just dreamers, ignorant, with false self-image, fooled by friends and social media they can be stars, poorly educated, average or poor body and unaware of realities, finances and years required
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10. How soon can I be an actor
If You Want To Be An Actor, Learn Realities And Be Ready For A Long Battle
It has taken him 12 years to understand the game called Bollywood. After bagging the Special Jury Award for his work in films like 'Kahaani', 'Gangs of Wasseypur', 'Talaash' and 'Dekh Indian Circus', Nawazuddin Siddiqui is nonchalant. He couldn't do TV and therefore, took to films, he tells us. There too things have been far from easy.
Based On Press Interviews
From a village in UP to Bollywood. What’s your story?
“I belong to a family of farmers. We are based in this village called B-U-D-H-A-N-A, in district Muzaffarnagar of Uttar Pradesh. There wasn’t much scope for education there. But somehow my siblings (7 brothers and 2 sisters) and I managed to study. In my village, only three things work- gehu (wheat), ganna (sugarcane) aur gun. The fear this gun culture instilled made us move out from our village.
It was much later that I started taking interest in theater. After completing my studies, I took up jobs like that of a chief chemist in Baroda. Then I joined a theater group in Delhi. Since there is no money in the theater I had to take up a job as a watchman. All these things happened simultaneously. Then I enrolled myself in the National School of Drama (NSD), passing out in 1996. I worked in Delhi for four years before finally moving to Mumbai in 2000.
I thought of starting out with bit roles in TV serials. Tab toh gore gore actors ka trend tha. I had a six feet tall body builder friend. He landed himself the role of a beggar in a serial. When I saw him do that, I realized television is not for me. Then, I thought of trying my luck in films"
How did Mumbai treat you?
"Delhi had drained me financially. In the beginning, I felt it would be easy to get work here. But that didn’t happen. For 4-5 years I did a lot of small roles, crowd scenes. Around this time cinema was taking a turn for the better. Directors like Anurag Kashyap were making films like Black Friday. Slowly I started getting work. In the past 3-4 years, I’ve done some 9 films which have me in important, central characters.
So many times I felt I was wasting my time because things were just not working out. But I couldn’t even go back. What would I do there? Spent all my life acting and I don’t know any other work. Also, I was afraid my friends would tease me. Arrey hero banne gaya tha, wapas laut aaya (He had gone to become an actor and has returned with nothing)
There were times when I was locked for the role but was then called and told it’s
not happening. Many rejections happened. Rejection had become a friend. After a point, it stopped affecting me. It became just another thing after I went through emotions of shock, anger, frustration every time, in that order for many years.
Change of fortune
After doing theater for over seven years, I was broke. By that time, I had fallen in love with acting and I couldn’t leave it. I thought if I have to die of hunger, I might as well do so in Mumbai. I had no hope of landing any film role in Mumbai, but I felt I had nothing to lose. I tried my luck in television, but our daily soaps were so glossy that I didn’t fit in. I did a few walk-on shots in a few films — I had a 40-second role in Sarfarosh, minuscule footage in Shool and Munnabhai MBBS. I did a few advertisements where I was part of the crowd, but I used to turn my face away from the camera.
Kuchh saal pehle, I was looked down upon as a rejected actor. But then, Indian cinema changed. A lot of young directors started experimenting with films over the past three years. New actors also eventually found a foothold in the industry. Those who were not taken seriously before were being taken seriously. I got to enjoy the fruits of this change.
The I happen to meet Anurag Kashyap. Woh bahut saare actors ko hope dete hain, thodi hope unhone mujhe bhi de di (He gives hope to a lot of actors, he gave a bit of it to me too). He signed me for Black Friday and I felt that this would be my take-off. Unfortunately, the film got banned. My life changed in 2009 when indie cinema was coming into its own and my films Patang and Miss Lovely were screened in film festivals across the world. Then Peepli Live, New York and Kahaani got me noticed.”
Lessons From The Struggle Story
- Meeting Requirements For A Good Actor- Good Body Plus Acting Techniques
- Ability To Struggle For Many Years
- Ability To Withstand Financial Insecurity
- Ability To Face Rejections And Disappointments
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