Nawazuddin Siddiqui on Manto, the success of Sacred Games and working with Anil Sharma in Genius

Abhishek Srivastava

Aug 23, 2018 14:55:08 IST

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is currently so immersed in his film assignments that the best the makers of Genius could manage from his packed schedule was a mere two days for the promotion of the film.

When I meet the actor on the second day at director Anil Sharma’s office, he is busy playing and conversing with a five-year-old kid – daughter of a fellow scribe. When he finds out that the girl goes to drama school, there is a sudden spark in his behavior and he immediately starts telling her the nuances of story-telling technique that he had learnt when at NSD. He has, by this time, almost forgotten that there is long day ahead peppered with numerous interview sessions. Ultimately it’s me who had to intervene and play the spoilsport.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui. AFP

Nawazuddin Siddiqui. AFP

How did Anil Sharma's Genius become a part of his slate of films? “The only reason I did this film was because he (Anil Sharma) has managed to keep the performances in the film very real, and at the same time has also given a stylised treatment to the film. I wanted to experience this treatment and that’s why said yes to the film.” Siddiqui further reveals that Anil Sharma is best known for bringing out a larger than life persona of his characters and deep within he was looking for an opportunity to do the same.

Netflix’s first Indian series Sacred Games, which had Nawazuddin in a pivotal role, created a splash across OTT and entertainment platforms. The role of Ganesh Gaitonde from Vikram Chandra’s tome was brought alive by the talented actor under the baton of Anurag Kashyap. So would he consider SG a game changer or will it be just another hit in his chequered career? “The day Sacred Games released in India, I had to travel to Rome. I was clueless about the response it had generated in India and was only told that people had liked it and nothing beyond it. It was only later I realised that it had turned out to be a big hit and audiences’ world over have liked it.”

He further adds, “In future, similar content will spring out and will try and compete with Sacred Games but it would be a futile comparison. To be honest, even the makers had no clue that it will become such a huge success. There comes a time when few people get together and come out with a masterpiece. It just happened and even if the same team were to emulate this again, chances are they might falter.”

A close look at Anurag Kashyap's oeuvre will reveal that many talented actors like Kay Kay and Deepak Dobrial became part of his filmmaking journey but could not stick for long. The same cannot be said about Nawazuddin. “I have never seen Anurag from a professional point of view. Anurag means a lot to me in my life. To me he is someone who is beyond this profession. The affection has been there much before we started working together and I am hopeful that it will continue for the rest of my life. Many people tried their best to create rift between the two of us but we never gave them space,” reveals the Gangs of Wasseypur actor.

About the recent BBC series McMafia, he discloses that it did benefit him but chances of him doing a second season of the acclaimed series are nil as he now wants to concentrate on the second season of Sacred Games.

“Recently I've said no to many offers. Why is it that our standard is always measured vis-a-vis their standard? I can never comprehend this. If I were to act in two Hollywood films, does that means that I will be dubbed as the ‘best’? Don’t people do their ‘best’ here? We are still living in the same feudal era where there is a powerful country and anything and everything that’s coming out from there is considered to be the best. This is not the case and we have just delivered a Sacred Games,” says Nawaz.

The conversation cannot end without asking him on his next film Manto. So, was it Nandita Das or the character of Manto that made him say yes to the film? “Both were factors for me. I had met Nandita during Cannes festival in 2013 and she had offered the film to me then. I had promised her that I will do the film and later I did it,” he reveals. The three projects that Nawazuddin Siddiqui has been part of or will be seen in — Sacred Games, Manto and Genius — perfectly showcases the ease with which he can straddle variety within the acting profession. And we can't wait to see more.

Updated Date: Aug 23, 2018 14:55:08 IST