Searching for Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Posted: April 20, 2013 by moifightclub in bollywood, cinema, Clips, Indie
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Cannes Film Festival recently announced its 2013 official list, and it features two Indian films – Bombay Talkies and Monsoon Shootout. Guess what’s common between the two? Nazauddin Siddiqui. It was the same scenario last year, he was at Cannes for Gangs Of Wasseypur and Miss Lovely. That’s quite an achievement – to have four films at Cannes in two years. And that’s not all. If our sources are to be believed, there’s more. Keep watching this space.

So we thought it’s a good time to look back and search for Mister Siddiqui. It started on Twitter, as a cheap thrill – to spot him in all those blink and miss roles that he has done over the years. Thanks to internet and youtube, it’s all just “click and play” game now. Try it. You will be surprised, and it’s great fun. Also, it defines what “perseverance” really means. Over to @SilverlightGal who went searching for Siddiqui and wrote this post.


In 1999, he was featured in a scene, that of a waiter, sharing screen space for a few seconds with Manoj Bajpayee. That 13 years later, he would feature as a leading man in a movie, playing Manoj Bajpaee’s son, and dominate the screen space was perhaps something that no one had envisioned. Not even the guy himself. That’s Nawazuddin Siddiqui for you.

It was on this blog, MFC (moifightclub), that I first heard of his name.  Nawazuddin Siddiqui? Sure didn’t sound like the names we’d been used to hearing in Bollywood in recent times.  Year after year it was either a Kumar or a Khan that made news in Bollywood. But this new guy was being written about with awe and respect. Curious, I read up as much as I could about him and that’s when I understood why he was being awed, despite not having a single release at that time. With unbridled excitement, I looked forward to seeing him on the silver screen, in Gangs of Wasseypur. And he didn’t disappoint. Gow-I, Gow-II, Kahaani, Talaash, it was just one powerhouse performance after another.

By now, reams have been written in media about his struggle from the days he worked as a watchman to now when he is acting alongside the likes of Aamir Khan and Vidya Balan. So, this post will not cover any of that.  For those unfamiliar with his back story or his long struggle or his various media interviews, there is a bunch of links at the bottom of this post.

This article instead attempts to list all his work from 1999 to the present.  (Note,  at Wikipedia, there are just 23 listings. At MFC, we have discovered 46, collated from various sources on the Net) And you can spot him in some of the clips listed here.



He played a criminal named Nawazuddin and was featured in a police lock-up scene that lasted for approximately 130-140 seconds. That was the first time he shared screen space with Aamir Khan. 12 years later, he played the second lead in an Aamir Khan movie, Taalash. Notice how scrawny and nervous he looks back then. But, far more than that, notice the way he gets under the skin of the character. It may have been a miniscule role but one that he can still be proud of.


He played one of the dacoits in Sushant Singh’s gang. This again was a very short role, lasting a few seconds.

Black Friday

He played the role of Asgar Muqadam, Tiger Memon’s  manager. In the movie, he is arrested shortly after the bomb blasts and is beaten in the lockup until he provides whatever information he has about the bomb blasts, which then leads to a police inquiry. Again, despite the extremely short time he got on screen, Nawazuddin managed to put in his best and make a mark for himself. Legend has it (okay, I just couldn’t resist this starter) that Anurag Kashyap saw his Sarfarosh scene and also a few of his plays and then signed him up for Black Friday.

Munnabhai MBBS

Remember, the thief who stole Sunil Dutt’s wallet and was good-naturedly hauled to beta Sanjay Dutt’s “clinic”? That was Nawazuddin Siddiqui. He was very lean back then and his face still looked young and fresh.

“OP” Stop Smelling Your Socks (short)

In this little-known short film, he plays one of the production guys.

The Bypass

In this award-winning 2003 short film, he played the role of a desert robber, who in conjunction with another guy, killed and looted people travelling on the bypass route.

Summer of 2007

(Trailer, between 1:59 to 2.00)

Again a blink and miss role, that of a villager in the village the protagonists go to fulfill their internships. The movie was a box office disaster.


He played the role of Hanif, a young Muslim man who finds his home looted and burned in the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots and wants to retaliate against the violence.


If you are interested to know more about him, here’s the list of some of the news reports and features.

His biography

– “A journey from a watchman to Bollywood” DNA article is here.

– “Tryst with Roger Ebert” HT report is here.

– “It must be boring to be a star.” DearCinema interview is here

– “An Unlikely Hero” GQ India feature is here

– “Now Starring NS : The life and struggle of an unlikely hero” Open magazine feature is here

– “The late but unstoppable rise of Nawazuddin Siddiqui” Caravan magazine’s feature is here

And these listings are not in exact order of his appearances, they are just sorted by year

  1. Sarfarosh 1999
  2. Shool 1999
  3. Jungle 2000
  4. Bindiya Mange Bandook 2000
  5. The Bypass 2003
  6. Mudda 2003
  7. Munnabhai MBBS  2003
  8. Black Friday 2004
  9. Elephant Boy 2005 (short)
  10. Adharm 2006
  11. Family – Ties of Blood 2006
  12. Manorama Six Feet Under 2007
  13. EK Chaalis ki last local 2007
  14. Salt N Pepper 2007
  15. Recycle Mind 2007
  16. Aaja Nachle 2007
  17. Safar 2008
  18. Black and White 2008
  19. Summer 2007  2008
  20. Dev D 2008
  21. Meridian Lines 2009
  22. New York 2009
  23. Firaaq 2009
  24. New York 2009
  25. OP Stop Smelling Your Socks (short) 2010
  26. Peepli live 2010
  27. Mehfuz (short) 2011
  28. Dekh Indian Circus 2011
  29. Kahaani 2011
  30. Paan Singh Tomar 2012
  31. Miss Lovely 2012
  32. The Owner 2012
  33. Talaash 2012
  34. Chittagong 2012
  35. Patang 2012
  36. Gangs of Wasseypur 2012
  37. Liar Dice 2012
  38. Gangs of Gardulley 2013
  39. Black Currency 2013
  40. Monsoon Shootout 2013
  41. Mountain Man 2013
  42. Dabba 2013
  43. Aatma 2013
  44. HaraamKhor 2013
  45. Bombay Talkies 2013
  46. Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa Filming

If we have missed anything interesting or if you managed to spot him in some film, do let us know in comment section.

(@SilverlightGal is passionate about cinema and is always eager for any discussions pertaining to cinema.)

PS – To make life bit simpler, now you don’t need to fill in all the details to post comments. If you are already logged into Facebook or Twitter, just log in with your FB/T account. Click on comment box, you can see the small (FB/T) icon below the comment box, click on FB/T, a pop up will appear, authorize the app and you are done)

  1. AA says:

    Perhaps it is just my single opinion alone but this actor is overrated.

    • Absolutely! He is good but limited. Kashyap ne “Nawaz Nawaz” chilla kar zyada hi chada dia. Moreover, probably my single opinion alone but I feel GOW was his weakest performance.

      • felinei says:

        An actor is acting (forget over,under rated or over or under acting) if he is truly unrecognisable from one character to another. There is a michelle williams quote that if you spot her in the act its a failed act. Nawazuddin Siddique is hardly recognisable from one role to another. Something that the so called indian box office superstars will never understand. He wears the skin of the character so easily that it really sets him apart from the herd. There are many other great actors choosing bad movies n bad roles but its surprising that a person from such a humble background is choosing great movies and doing great roles in it. Surprisingly when i saw The Master, Jacquin Pheonix’s acting in it n mannerisms reminded me of Nawazuddin’s.

  2. siddesh87 says:

    I spotted him in a blink and miss role in Jabbar Patel’s Dr Babasaheb ambedkar in 2000…

  3. dr vinod gondalia says:

    agree with AA

  4. JJ says:

    Agree with AA and Vinod. Nawaz is good, but overrated. Very very overrated.

  5. Perhaps its most of the viewers opinion that this actor is underrated.. And most people will agree with it.. 😉

  6. JJ says:

    Wow, so now you’re moderating comments just because they dont agree with you? Enlighten me please, because my comment was not abusive or personal, so i see no reason why you didnt allow it?

    • moifightclub says:

      which comment? Your previous comment is here. some comments get stuck in spam section and some needs to be approved depending on ip address

    • JJ says:

      Ok, its showing now. Wasnt showing earlier, so i thot you didnt allow my comment to be posted. Ignore my last comment then #kthxbye

  7. a time when strugglers are losing hope because all new entrants in the industry are either children of stars/producers/directors etc. or supermodels …one Nawazuddin’s success changes everything….one rags to riches story (where someone struggles for 10+years as junior artist makes it to the lead role in one of the A list directors of industry) gives a new ray of hope to thousands of junior artists/extras..and even makes few people in remote villages like Budhana (Nawaz’s village) leave their homes and head to their dream land Mumbai…

  8. There is something that I dont quite like about him. It has nothing to do what he does on screen, but offscreen. In almost every interview that I have seen, I have seen him behaving like a devdas. crying, crying and speaking as if the world owed him stardom. He needs to get a life and move on. The richest man on earth once said – “Life is unfair, get used to it”.
    The world or the people doesnt owe you anything.
    This has got nothing to do with what he does on-screen, but whenever I see him on-screen these days, I get repelled seeing him. This has more to do with the fact that I dont like to meet or know more about such devdas.
    Just my opinion. No personal attack or harm intended.

    • moifightclub says:

      this is so wrong. he’s never crying, crying, crying. if you know and understand media, you will get it. everyone loves a rags to riches story, a watchman to cannes story, it makes a great copy. so people keep on asking him about the same. do you have a choice there? any talented person who goes through so much struggle, it’s kind of obvious too. and yes, the world is unfair but only few have the talent to start from such a humble beginning and come so far. give the man some due. i used to think i was cynic and then i met you all. as my favourite rakhi sawant expression goes JEJUS!

      • Hehe.. actually I am not being a cynic. Rather I dont like cynics crying and I prefer to walk off whenver I meet a cynic. That’s how I am. And no, its not my job to make Nawaz a superstar. I dont owe him anything.

        • sonu says:

          Has anyone noticed but one of the top actor ruling bollywood now is an orphan and have made it on his own… You have to give it to SRK for not telling sob stories of his struggle days and being highly optimistic of the whole experience. The guy does not cry and begs for the world to recognize his rags to riches story…!!

  9. moifightclub says:

    naah, you can’t do that, and nobody is even asking you for that also.

  10. Gangs of Gardullye. LOL How can we take that seriously?!

  11. Suparn Verma says:

    It is sad to read comments deriding one of the best actors we have. America has icons coz they celebrate them, a Steve Buschemi, Bill Murray, Harvey kietel, Christopher Walken, Gary oldman are all brilliant actors, all have a range….doesn’t lessen their genius.
    Nawaaz, Manoj, Irrfan are some of the greatest talents we have in that age group.
    Nawaaz’s interviews sound the same because he is asked the same questions, because right now a rags to riches story helps the media get more eyeballs.
    It took these men years of struggle, poverty, abuse and staring at the abyss to reach where they have.
    Before you write off a comment waving it all away in a few seconds…..take a few seconds to think first….

    • I dont understand where I tried to write off Nawaz, the actor. Can you please point out that line that gives such a impression? I specifically mentioned that I have problems with the man he is off-screen and that is influencing me when I watch him on screeen. But did I ever say that he is a bad actor or worthless actor or whatever you have understood… Can you please think a bit sire, and point out where I did that.

  12. CLUB IRATE says:

    Also, he will be seen in a tentative 2013 or 2014 release of a found footage horror film called THE MAYA TAPE shot in North east India. you can google it.

  13. SAdhu says:

    I think Nawaz is the only good actor discovered in the recent few years, loved him in GOW and hated him in Kahaani.
    But recently Ive realized his choice of films suck (latest being Aatma).

  14. Abhishek says:

    Why don’t you guys who I suppose have access to him do a video interview with the man for once we would get to know more than the regular rags to riches story that the creatively challenged media does on him again and again.

  15. some comments say he is overrated few say he is offscreen unlikable
    his performances are exciting
    and more than that his interviews i like them very much (rags to riches story if we leave there is much more)'s roundtable) abt uttarayan)
    he is so excited ,honest ,exuberant .i like him .he is inspiration

  16. Ravi Maniar says:

    I cannot believe I see so many people commenting negatively on such a talent. It is truly sad.

    And someone going all the way saying that he hates the way he is in his interviews. WOW. I mean he just said the exact opposite of what I feel.

    I think he is the most honest and simple person who has made so big in bollywood and just trying to deal with all this sudden attention.

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