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Nawazuddin Siddiqui is elated to represent India at the ‘mecca of cinema’, Cannes

- Rishabh Suri

For actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, it appears like the ninth time is the charm. After making eight trips to the previous editions of the Cannes Film Festival, he has been invited this year, for the first time, by the Government of India. He walked the red carpet on May 17.

What’s more? The actor will ring in his birthday there on May 19. Ask him if that makes the day even more memorable and the 47-yearold says, “Representi­ng India is always special — be it on my birthday or any other day. I have spent five-six of my birthdays at Cannes, as it’s held around the same time every year. I am not a person who celebrates birthdays as such. It’s just like a normal day.”

His earliest memory of the festival is when two of his films, Gangs of Wasseypur and Miss Lovely (both 2012), made the rounds there.

“It’s the mecca of cinema. Wahan chaaron taraf ache cinema ki baat hoti hai, box office collection ki baat nahin hoti. Hum jo collection ki baatein kar kar ke cinema dekh rahe hain na aaj kal .... Wahan uski baat nahin hoti,” shares the actor.

Does he feel that most of our good films don’t get noticed enough in our country, but a screening or award at an internatio­nal film festival gets the buzz going? Siddiqui says that it doesn’t happen even then. “Hamare yahaan tab bhi notice nahin karte, even after the films get recognitio­n outside. Uske baad bhi hamare yahan uss tarah ki films ko screening nahin milti. I have a film, No Land’s Man (2021). It’s going to the Sydney Film Festival. Can you believe that no OTT platform is ready to take that film? It’s such a fast, beautiful film. Cinema mein release karna toh door ki baat hai. I feel so dishearten­ed,” he ends.

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