Nawazuddin Siddiqui is a name known in every household nowadays. He now ranks among the A-Listers of Bollywood. It took him over 15 years to get to that stardom. He had to face all the hardships of life, the pain, the numerous rejections and also self doubt. His story is very inspiring and motivates you to never give up on your dreams.
Nawazuddin is from a small village in Muzzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh called Budhana. He was born in 1974 in a family of farmers, among nine siblings. As a young boy living in a lawless village which was run by goons and guns, he had bigger dreams which seemed out of reach for a lower middle class family but still he somehow completed his graduation as a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. He then worked as a chemist for a year in Baroda.
He always had a strong connection with the silver screen back when he was living in his village. They had a small theatre in the village which only showed C-grade sleazy movies. He grew up watching those films. But the acting bug hit him when he moved to Delhi in search of a better joba. When in Delhi he saw some plays, which made him take interest in theatre. He enrolled himself in the National School of Drama, but to make a living he took up a job as a watchman. Siddiqui took to learn acting by watching different plays and eventually enrolled himself in the school and graduated in 1996. For the next four years he did theatre in Delhi and then shifted to Mumbai.
After moving to Mumbai, his decade long struggle started. He had to face many rejections. In earlier days in the Hindi film industry, it was all about fairness and good physique. It was all about the looks. The casting directors would reject Nawaz just because of his looks. Nawaz in his own words was ‘kala kaluta’. He struggled to get roles as an extra for a mere 1000 rupees. His roles lasted for just few seconds and were just a face in the crowd. Nawazuddin played a waiter in his first film, ‘Shool’ (1999); a criminal of the Mumbai underbelly in his second, ‘Sarfarosh’ (1999); a pickpocketer in his third, ‘Munnabhai MBBS’ (2003); and a bandit in his fourth, ‘The Bypass’ (2003).
Nawaz once said that the year 2004 was his worst year when he had no money to pay the rent, so he had to cook food for his landlord. Nawazuddin had almost lost all hope and wondered about going back to his village but still was not ready to quit. It was in 2007 when he got his big break in the controversial film, Black Friday by Anurag Kashyap. He had spotted him in his theatre days and offered him the role. After this the actor never looked back. His first lead role was in ‘Patang’ as a wedding singer. The movie made it to the Berlin International Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival.
Since then he has worked in various critically acclaimed movies like, Dev D, Peepli Live, Paan Singh Tomar. It was Gangs Of Wasseypur(2012) directed by Anurag Kashyap that gave him fame and was a turning point in his career. His role as faisal khan got the world to identify him as a wonderful actor. Nawaz then went on to make big movies like Talaash, Kick, Badlapur, Manjhi and Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
When asked about his family and friends reaction on his success He said, “It’s a sense of satisfaction because I proved all of them wrong. All of them said ‘kya hero banega (how will he become a hero)’ when I set out. When I go back now they say ‘isne toh karke dikhaya (he has done it)’. I made it possible.”