Free Press Journal

Heroes may turn stereotypical in Bollywood, not actors, says Nawazuddin Siddiqui


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Best known for essaying poles apart roles — ranging from playing a gun-toting gangster Faizal Khan in ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ to a hilariously funny journalist in ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ Nawazuddin Siddiqui thinks it is the ‘Bollywood hero’ who becomes stereotypical with time, but the actors do not.

The concept of hero

In an interview, one of the most versatile performers of present day Bollywood talked about evolution of Indian films, lack of audience in theatres as well as his methods and aspirations as an actor. “I think only the heroes can become stereotypical, not actors. It is the concept of hero in our films that you and I have been seeing for the last 60 years. The Bollywood hero who sings and dances with a heroine by his side, fights but still manages to look good after a beating — has become a stereotype. An actor can never become a typecast,” said Siddiqui.

“I think it’s important for an actor to try out characters with different dimensions. I’ve done intense films, but I have also done films like Freaky Ali and Lunchbox which were pretty light-hearted,” he added.

No evolution

The actor, who would be seen playing the enigmatic author Saadat Hasan Manto in his next film, believes Bollywood has not evolved much in making thought-provoking cinema. “It is not that parallel or content based films are a new thing in the industry. I don’t think much has changed here. Even earlier, there were great films made by directors like Tapan Sinha and Gautam Ghose. I do not find any massive improvement in terms of film making in Bollywood. I think we still have a long way to go.”

“Cinema is an art seen by thousands of people. It is not just for a niche audience. So films should have such a quality that it can be enjoyed by everyone. It should be all-encompassing,” Siddiqui said, terming films as “art for all”.

“We cannot blame the audience for not coming to the theatres. The makers should also think about the audience. In some cases, the filmmakers themselves do not see their films twice. How can they expect the audience to come and see it?” he questioned.

Dream roles

Siddiqui, who has played challenging roles like that of a serial killer in ‘Raman Ragav 2.0’ and is set to play Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, dreams of playing characters like Leonardo DiCaprio’s in 2013 Hollywood flick ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and Dilip Kumar’s portrayal of Salim in the iconic historical drama ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ (1960).