As a child, Nawazuddin Siddiqui could mimic an acquaintance whom he had just met a couple of minutes back. He had a keen sense of observation and could easily anticipate how, in a particular scenario, a person would act and react.
Siddiqui was born on 19 May 1974 in Budhana, a small town and tehsil in Muzaffarnagar district of the Western part of Uttar Pradesh State of India, into a zamindari Muslim family of Numberdars. He was the eldest of his eight siblings.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya,Haridwar. Following this, he worked as a chemist in Vadodara for a year, before leaving for Delhi in search for a new job.
Early in the 1970s when village carnivals, folk performances and festivals used to be the only source of entertainment in the village, Nawazuddin used to admire the capability of the experienced performers who could assimilate all the village folk together and give them a chance to laugh, cry, dance and sing with them. He always felt that he could perform better than them, and when Television made its entry into the village, the villagers used to flock towards a single TV screen. He too wanted everyone to admire him the same way they used to admire the actors on the Television.His desire for acting was thriving during his graduation period and this thirst for acting landed him at National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi. At the NSD, he became popular as a humor artist. He won several accolades for playing a character called ‘Borkin’ for Ivano, a play written by Chekov.
He faced a lot of struggle and hardships in his initial days in Mumbai that tested his patience and passion for acting. He played his part in short films, television and small roles in some Bollywood movies. He was always on the lookout for the right opportunity to portray his acting skills. He got his first major breakthrough in 2007 with his film Black Friday written and directed by Anurag Kashyap. This was followed by a series of films like New York, Peepli Live, Kahaani, DevD, Paan Singh Tomarand Firaaq where he played small yet substantial roles.Some of his upcoming films are Pattang, Chittagong and Miss Lovely.
He has been delivering power packed performances consistently by playing small roles on the big screen, but he did not get much recognition before his two films were screened at the 65thInternational Cannes Film Festival, the two films being Anurag Kashyap’s two part ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ and Ashim Ahluwalia’s ‘Miss Lovely’.
Siddiqui went to the National School of Drama, New Delhi. After graduating from NSD, he moved to Mumbai. In 2004, which was one of the worst years of his struggle, he couldn’t pay any rent. He asked an NSD senior if he could stay with him. The senior allowed him to share his apartment in Goregaon if he was willing to cook meals for him. Nawazuddin made his Bollywood debut in 1999, with a small role in Aamir Khan starrer, Sarfarosh. After that, he played a messenger in the movie Jungle, later he hung out at film studios and shootings but only got stereotypical roles. He shared screen along with Sunil Dutt and Sanjay Dutt in Munnabhai MBBS in the opening scenes where he tries to pick the pocket of Sunil Dutt. After moving to Mumbai he tried to get work in television serials, but did not achieve much success. He did a short film The Bypass in 2003, where he appeared with actor, Irrfan Khan. Beyond that between 2002–05, he was largely out of work, and lived in a flat he shared with four other people, and survived by conducting occasional acting workshops.
His appearance in Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday (2007) paved way for other powerful roles. His first lead role in a feature film was as the wedding singer Chakku in Prashant Bhargava’s Patang (shot in 2007-2008), which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival, for which Nawazuddin’s natural performance has been praised by world-renowned film critic Roger Ebert (awarding the film 4 stars), a role which ‘transformed his acting style’. In 2009, he appeared in a cameo role in hit song “emotional atyachar” in the movie Dev D in his moniker as Rangila along with his duo Rasila (known together as Patna ke Presley). Nawazuddin was noticed in the film “New York”. However it was his role of a journalist in Aamir Khan Productions’s Peepli Live (2010), that first got him recognition as an actor.
He became a household name post Kahaani (2012), where he played the archetypal short-tempered intelligence officer Khan. Anurag Kashyap’s gangster epic Gangs of Wasseypur followed which furthered his fame. He played his first primary role as Sonu Duggal in Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely which premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, a role Nawazuddin describes as his “most real performance so far.”Nawazuddin then followed this up with the sequel to Gangs of Wasseypur. In 2013, he played the lead role in the horror flick Aatma. He has appeared in Aamir Khan’s 2012 release,Talash. His film Patang, which was recently released in the U.S. and Canada, is garnering much attention for Nawazuddin with rave reviews from the New York Times, and Los Angeles Times.
In 2015, Siddiqui’s films Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Manjhi – The Mountain Man released and he was praised for his roles. Nawazuddin is doing a film based in Gujarat, titled Haraamkhor. For his performance in Haramkhor, he was awarded the Best Actor at the New York Indian Film Festival.
Nawazuddin now carefully selects his roles for different movies and believes that to succeed in life, one must make the right decisions at the right times and move steadily.
We wish him a very Happy Birthday and great Success in Life!!