Nawazuddin Siddiqui, whose latest three films have been released online in the past three months, on his 20 years in cinema and how the film industry is not just about stars.
Q. Has this been your longest spell without shooting?
I always wanted a period when I wouldn’t have much to do. Sadly, it came in the form of a pandemic. I did some farming in my village Budhana (Uttar Pradesh) during the lockdown and watched some 250 films, including those starring my favourite actors, Denzel Washington, Daniel Day Lewis and Anthony Hopkins. I hope there is a change in my approach towards my craft.
Q. You completed 20 years in cinema last year. How do you see your journey so far?
I am glad that I am working and I want to continue working. Sometimes the films work, sometimes they don’t. It is not under my control. I am enjoying the process of exploring different characters, it’s the challenges that fascinate and engage me.
Q. Is there a conscious effort to forego supporting parts to concentrate on leading roles?
That’s not my intention. Sometimes one does commercial films so that there is a balance and one is able to reach out to the audience. I love to do films like Manto and Photograph, but I will also do films which don’t require you to exercise your brain cells much.
Q. The film industry has faced a volley of attacks lately…
It is unfortunate. The industry is not just comprised of stars. There are lakhs who work in it and those whose livelihoods depend on it. If you attack it, the business will crumble. This industry has given opportunities to many. Some have seen their dreams materialise. Yesterday’s outsider can become today’s insider here.