Although Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s struggle to establish himself began 22 years ago when he played walk-on parts in the Aamir Khan-starrer Sarfarosh and Ram Gopal Varma’s Shool. But his actual climb to the top began with Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs Of Wasseypur. Since then he has been hailed one of the most versatile actors. Nawaz, who will next be seen in the films Bole Chudiyan and Jogira Sara Ra Ra, spent the lockdown in the quietude of his hometown, Budhana in Uttar Pradesh. During that time, Nawaz tried his hands at farming, and enjoyed the OTT release of his films, Raat Akeli Hai, Ghoomketu and Serious Men. Here, the actor get candid about how the lockdown came as a boon for him and shares his future plans. Excerpts from the interview:
How was it to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city?
The one good thing that the pandemic gave me was time away from the shor-sharaaba and bhaag-daud of the city. In my hometown, Budhana, everything is quiet, reposeful. I can’t describe the feeling of peace that descends on me when I go there. One needs to experience it, the feeling is hard to describe in words. Yahan pe bahot sukoon hai (There’s solace here).
There was no work in Mumbai since the lockdown began; everything came to a standstill, hence I went back home. Initially, I thought I’d spend some time with my mother and then return. But since no work was happening in Mumbai, I extended my stay. Dekhte dekhte saal nikal gaya (And just like that year passed by). I realised how happy I was being at home.
Would you consider working from Budhana?
Why not? In fact, ‘work from home’ is the new normal. As long as I am not shooting, I can do everything from there — narrations on Zoom, even dubbing for that matter, etc. I might settle down in my hometown and work from there.
You took up farming in the lockdown, how would you describe that experience?
I am an actor by profession, and a farmer at heart. I love to be close to the zameen. I am the happiest when I am working on the land. When I am in Budhana, I even sleep on my farmland.
What about acting?
It is equally important to me. Farming and acting come naturally to me. Baaki sab dikhawa hai. In fact, I’ve also signed a few interesting projects lately.
What do you think of the OTT spurt?
I believed in the OTT from long before it became popular. My Scared Games was one of the first big Indian successes on the digital platform. And it struck me then — the OTT is here to stay. But it can’t replace the big screen experience. Both the platforms have their individual space.
Looking back, how would you describe your journey?
It reminds me of the time when I simply picked up any role that came my way. I have done a lot of side roles; I did whatever came my way. Luckily, by the grace of God, today I am in a position where I can pick and choose. This is an achievement for me. I am getting all kinds of offers and want a change in the characters I play.
What kind of change are you looking for while choosing roles?
I have done enough dark, sinister roles. Now I want to do fun ones with a lighter side to them. Like last year’s Ghoomketu. Bole Chudiyan, which is being directed by my brother Shamas, is my first full-fledged romantic film. I enjoyed the song and dance routine, and romancing Tamannaah Bhatia in the movie.
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