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.
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.
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.
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
- Sarfarosh 1999
- Shool 1999
- Jungle 2000
- Bindiya Mange Bandook 2000
- The Bypass 2003
- Mudda 2003
- Munnabhai MBBS 2003
- Black Friday 2004
- Elephant Boy 2005 (short)
- Adharm 2006
- Family – Ties of Blood 2006
- Manorama Six Feet Under 2007
- EK Chaalis ki last local 2007
- Salt N Pepper 2007
- Recycle Mind 2007
- Aaja Nachle 2007
- Safar 2008
- Black and White 2008
- Summer 2007 2008
- Dev D 2008
- Meridian Lines 2009
- New York 2009
- Firaaq 2009
- New York 2009
- OP Stop Smelling Your Socks (short) 2010
- Peepli live 2010
- Mehfuz (short) 2011
- Dekh Indian Circus 2011
- Kahaani 2011
- Paan Singh Tomar 2012
- Miss Lovely 2012
- The Owner 2012
- Talaash 2012
- Chittagong 2012
- Patang 2012
- Gangs of Wasseypur 2012
- Liar Dice 2012
- Gangs of Gardulley 2013
- Black Currency 2013
- Monsoon Shootout 2013
- Mountain Man 2013
- Dabba 2013
- Aatma 2013
- HaraamKhor 2013
- Bombay Talkies 2013
- 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.)
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