The big story
Although not blessed with stereotypical good looks, by sheer hardwork Nawazuddin Siddiqui hasmadeit to the top rungs of Bollywood. Nowthe award-winning star dreams of spending his free time farming in his small village
Meet Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Bollywood’s reluctant hero.
Swagger. Subtlety and style. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Bollywood’s newest poster boy, has them all – which is lucky as he doesn’t have traditional big-screen good looks.
The man has a slight build, leathery skin and a receding hairline. But surprisingly none of this can take away from his swagger. Is it a result of the uber-cool clothes he wears with such irreverence? Or the bass voice that is a product of years of smoking and theatre, the medium that taught him voice modulation?
Or the smouldering look in his greyish black eyes? Ask most women – and film directors – and they’ll tell you it’s the alluring combination that makes this 40-year-old the toast of Bollywood. Even Nawazuddin knows it. “For the first time in my 15-year- career I played a millionaire in [the Salman Khan movie] Kick. The outfits were so good. As soon as I wore them, half the job was done,” he says.
Is he hinting that his portrayal of a conniving villain, which won him appreciation from the masses as well as the critics, was a cakewalk? Is he implying that sharing screen space with Salman Khan, the king of potboilers, was not daunting even though he had never done a blockbuster film before this?
“Well, my mother saw the film but more than my acting, she is happy to see me wearing good clothes in it,” he laughs, sitting in a restaurant in Mumbai. “She won’t understand the nuances of my performance, but is elated that I have donned expensive clothes and worn heavy make-up.”
But it’s more then mere designer clothes. He has had to struggle – working as a cook and even a watchman to pay for his board while a student of acting, taking up a few