Nawazuddin Siddiqui is one of those rare gems of Indian cinema who has exemplified for the entire world that a combo of hard work and pure talent ultimately wins. With his modesty and charming acting chops, he has conquered the hearts of people all over the world.
Take a look at the variety of awards that he has bagged over the years. He has a national film award, numerous Filmfare and IIFA awards, Asia pacific Awards and so many others to his credit. He has earned a name as one of the finest Indian actors, in the likes of Irrfan khan, Manoj Bajpayee and Rajkumar Rao, and yet he is the most humble human being in tinsel town.
Today, we uncover some lesser known facts in various stages of life of the Gangs of Wasseypur actor – facts that will acquaint you with the real Nawaz.
Nawazuddin was born in Budhana, Muzzafarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, into a zamindari Muslim family of Lambardars. He was the first born amongst 9 children.
His struggling days:
For most people, the earliest memory of Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s former roles is as Faizal Khan in Gangs of Wasseypur or as Officer Khan in Kahaani, but actually Nawaz had a string of minor roles in films like Munna Bhai MBBS and Sarfarosh.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui performance in Munna Bhai MBBS
Nawazuddin performance in sarfarosh
The story of Nawaz Siddiqui is so admired because of his intense struggle as an actor in Bollywood. His struggle period even had him moonlighting as a watchman.
He has stated that he used to wear one single suit in each of his Cannes appearance during his struggling days.
Nawazuddin had lived in Delhi before moving to Mumbai, where had joined a theatre company called Sakshi Theatre Group. During his stint in Sakshi Theatre Group, he played a part of a tree in a play called Uljhan, where he had to stand for two hours with his hands raised as branches. The reason why he did the role, he said later, was because the play had Manoj Bajpayee as the lead actor.
Nawazuddin’s first commercial was an appearance in Pepsi’s Sachin Ala Re campaign. He was paid a mere 500 rupees for the role.
Nawazuddin’s first commercial
Even with the first movie role that Nawaz bagged, his parents had to change two buses and travel 40 km to come and see their son on the big screen.
His struggle took him to some really dark places. He has even said that there was a time when he had to rely on tea and glucose biscuits for meals. Even worse, he once fainted out of hunger.
In films, we have often seen Nawazuddin Siddiqui playing serious characters. But did you know, in theatre he was, most often than not, cast in comic roles?
Rise to fame and commendable work:
In 1999, Nawaz finally made his Bollywood debut with the film Sarfarosh. But alas, he only had a blink-and-miss role in it.
Siddiqui’s breakthrough role came in 2007 with Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday. The film won Grand Jury Prize at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles and was a nominee for the Best Film (Golden Leopard) award at the Locarno Film Festival.
Although ‘Black Friday’ gave him the much-needed break in his career, it were actually the roles in Gangs of Wasseypur’ and ‘Kahaani’ that earned him nationwide recognition.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Gangs of Wasseypur
Contrary to popular belief, Bajrangi Bhaijaan was not the first film when Nawaz collaborated with Kabir Khan. It was actually the 2009 film New York , where he played the role of a police brutality victim in America.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Bajrangi Bhaijaan
His acting abilities can be gauged from the fact that in this film, Nawaz even made Film legend Irrfan Khan cry at an emotional scene. It was a scene where Nawaz’s character has to describe the horrifying police brutality endured by him for being a muslim in front of a tape.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui in New York
Nawazuddin Siddiqui has taken inspiration from real people in his life for several of his roles. He borrowed aspects of Shaikh, his character in The Lunchbox(2013) from his former roommate Mukesh Bhatt, especially his friendly greetings of “Arrey, sir!”, “Kaise hain, sir!”
In real life, Nawaz considers Ashish Vidyarthi as his idol.
Did you know that Nawaz used an actual hammer in the film ‘Manjhi’ in his role as Dashrath Manjhi.
His acting abilities have been lauded by several Hollywood juries and critics.
The Hollywood Reporter had compared his performance in Raman Raghav 2.0 to that of Anthony Hopkins’ in ‘The Silence of the Lambs’.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui was in a live-in relationship with his girlfriend Anjali. After his break-up with her, he tied the knot with Sheeba, but it was a short-lived relationship. Post Divorce, he rekindled his romance with Anjali, and today they are a happily married couple.
During the production of his film ‘Miss Lovely’, Nawazuddin was involved in a romantic affair with Niharika Singh, his co-actor. He has even stated that his on-screen kiss with Singh was actually his first in his own life.
Unlike most actors in bollywood, Nawaz doesn’t have a manager or PR representative. He prefers to manage his professional commitments by himself.
Nawaz has stated that for 11 years, he has been using rolling paper cigarettes. The reason is that the laborious process of rolling cigarettes may prompt him to quit smoking.
Did you know, Nawazuddin Siddiqui has been made the Brand Ambassador of UP Government’s Samajwadi Kisan Beem Yojna, a policy that provides life insurance to farmers.
In his off-time, instead of Bahamas or Thailand, Nawazuddin Siddiqui actually prefers prefers to go back to his village in Budhana to farm on his ancestral land.
Now that is modesty, honestly!