The Big Interview! Nawazuddin Siddique: The way Bollywood is being shown as a ‘bad place’ will put off newcomers who want to join the industry – Times of India
In an honest and candid chat Nawaz told ETimes, “ I cant watch timepass films for three hours because I need to engage my mind in positive and different things. And I don’t get satisfaction watching time pass and formula films.”
Here are excerpts from our conversation with the actor where he shares how he’s been battling the pandemic, his thoughts on his own work and his memories of working with his friend – the late Irrfan Khan.
I have to begin by asking how have you been spending time in this lockdown?
It is amazing, I am staying in Mussorie. So I am alone in a big resort. I am watching films and exercising. This is how I am spending time during the lockdown. Actually I was waiting for this time. I am enjoying this period and I am quite happy.
Like everyone else are you also missing theatres and watching movies on big screens
I am not missing theatres as such because I am already watching films on OTT but yes, the theatre experience is being missed. Right now, I am watching good content anyways on the OTT platform so I am not missing theatres and movies as such. The reason is the content that I like to see is not available in theatres.
I have different taste in watching films. Though I do a lot of light-hearted, soft films, I don’t like watching them. I think, ‘jis tareeke ki films dekhoghe, waise hi aapka nature banega and usi tarah apka future banega’ (we should consume only that content which will have an effect on your nature and future). While enjoying a movie, It is very important to see what you watch in those three hours. I can’t watch timepass films for three hours because I need to engage my mind in positive and different things. And I don’t get satisfaction watching timepass and formula film.
What is your earliest memory of watching a movie in a theatre
The first movie I had watched in the theatre was of Dada Kondke. I am one of the biggest fans of Dada Kondke. He did unconventional acting. There was nothing made-up in his acting and it was all original. He had shown hardcore reality through his acting. His films were made ahead of their time. So frankly speaking, my first, second, and third film in the theatre were of Dada Kondke. I really respect that actor. I really enjoyed it when his character appeared in the film ‘Thackeray’. It was like experiencing a man whom you admired your entire life”
Do you remember watching yourself on the big screen for the first time
My first film onscreen was ‘Sarforosh’, where my role was of just a minute or so. I remember I had taken my friends to watch the film and while they were busy talking, they missed seeing my scene (laughs). I was like what you guys were doing my scene just went. So I took them again to watch the scene. During Munna Bhai as well, I was one of the crowd so again it was negligible.
Munnabhai reminds me of Sanjay Dutt, how is your rapport with the actor, and what was your reaction when you learned about his illness?
During Munnabhai, I never met Sanjay Dutt in person as I was in the crowd and there was no interaction with him but yes, after that we had met several times. He is a wonderful person. I remember meeting him during an event, where along with me, Sanjay Dutt, Nana Patekar, a theatre director was there. Sanjay Dutt and I had a great time chatting. Interestingly, he was aware that I had worked with him during Munnabhai MBBS. I am not in touch with him right now as we all got busy afterward. But as soon as I learned about his illness, I was so shocked. I just hope he gets well soon and has a speedy recovery.
In one of your interviews, you had said, ‘formula films do not need talented actors’, why do you think so?
Formula films are also important but the thing is that audience is used to watch cliche love stories. The same love stories with some different angles are made and the audience loves to watch them. But if we think practically, there is no such romance happening in real life. Real-life romance and love stories are way different from what is shown in Bollywood romantic films and if we bring some real love stories to the audience, they will not accept it. They will say it is not a film, they are not real. So what I mean is that formulas are emersed in our minds. There is a set pattern in the audience’s mind. This is happening due to a lack of innovation and those films do not need talent.
You have worked with several Big stars in Bollywood like Salman , Sanjay Dutt, who’s been your most favourite
My favorite actor is Naseer Saab actually. But I also like Aamir Khan because he experiments with all his films, which is good practice. His films are not like the other Bollywood formula films. He makes a movie on another level. He also gives a commercial touch to it. I like Aamir Khan. So Dada Kondke, Naseer Saab and Aamir Khan are my favorite actors.
Your first film was with Aamir, did he remember you when you worked with him in ‘Talaash’?
During ‘Sarfarosh’, I had no interaction with Aamir. After ‘Sarfarosh’ and before ‘Talaash’, I had met Aamir Khan during ‘Peepli Live‘. He used to come on the sets and once while shooting, I thought I should tell him that we had met during ‘Sarfarosh’ and we had done a minute role in that film. He was very happy after knowing it, he actually stopped the film shoot and he told everyone about our scene from the movie. He then realized that the one whom he had beaten in ‘Sarfarosh’ is actually this guy. The entire atmosphere got nostalgic and then it was great associating with him.”
Irrfan Khan was a mentor to you, Do you miss him?
Of course, I miss Irrfan Khan. I have worked a lot with him and he has been my mentor. He has also supported me to grow in my career. He took me as a lead actor in his first film. Then he also took me in ‘Warrior’. There are a few films of me and Irrfan which didn’t release till date. So there has been a long association with him. He was a brilliant actor. His way of thinking, his perception, his way of looking at things was different, and that reflected in his acting. He was a very clever and capable person- this my definition for him. Whenever I had any issues, I used to discuss it with him.
Any memories of him you would like to share…
There are a lot of memories. One of them is when we met Danny Boyle at Sun and Sand Hotel. Irrfan bhai picked me up early in the morning at around 7 am. We waited for an hour to meet Danny Boyle, who directed ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. We went there and Irrfan instructed me that Danny is making a film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ so we are here to meet him. He instructed me that he will meet him first and then I can go. There was no official appointment with him. So, Irrfan met Danny first, and then he came and asked me to go and meet him. So as soon as I went up to him, Danny immediately said whether you both have planned this meeting (laughs).
You also have an amazing work rapport with Anurag Kashyap…
The thing is that, when we work together, we have a great tuning. The equation is superb between us. Whenever I work with Anurag, it gives me creative satisfaction. He always unknowingly supports me. When I am with Anurag, I feel “main duniya ki sabse acchi acting kar raha hu”. I get that support from him.
Did you ever feel like an outsider in the industry?
I never felt that I am an outsider here.
Your views on the current nepotism debate
Nepotism is everywhere. But I would say more than anyone the audience is responsible for nepotism. Because the audiences go and watch their films. They make it big and no one else. “Harr Baap chahega.. apna beta aage jaye. apna business sambhale as he can’t believe any other outsider. But see the beauty of this industry that despite of this thinking, there are a number of actors who are coming in and are doing well in the field. They get established well in the industry. They get recognition. So this blame game should stop. The way everyone is highlighting Bollywood as a dark industry by saying that all the awful things are done here is wrong. In fact, the Bollywood industry is so aware that each and every actor or director or writer speak up on the smallest issue. They support the government in their initiatives and what not. No one in Hollywood does this. So saying bad things to Bollywood is a little bit harsh I feel. Because if we show our industry in a bad light, the new talent who are eyeing Bollywood will step back thinking, ‘Bollywood mein toh Murder hote hai, Drugs lete Hai, Ganja Peete hai’. So this insider-outsider debate and talking about nepotism should stop.