Today he is reveling in the huge success of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, has praises and appreciation coming in from all corners and is regarded as a fine actor who has even left a mark on the international shores. However, for actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, it has been a long journey from a small town called Budhana in Muzaffarnagar, UP to the big glamorous world of Bollywood. On route to his stardom, he worked as a chemist in some petrochemical company, even took up a job of a watchman before finally facing the camera and doing what he does the best – entertain. Nawaz’s success story is not only inspiring but also reflects his passion for his craft, which has brought him so far in his life.
Starting up on his own, with no godfathers in the industry, the actor faced many hurdles and setbacks before reaching where he is today. “I have struggled a lot,” says the actor without any hesitation, he adds, “I have never got things easily. During my struggling days, people around me would get offers and roles for films after a couple of attempts, but even after trying so hard, I was finding it difficult to get work. People kept saying — ‘You are a very good actor.’ But I was hearing that since my theater days — ‘What a performance!’, ‘You are fantastic’ etc, but it never got translated into work, at least initially. It took me so many years to reach where I am today. About 10 – 13 years in Bombay. And 7 years before that in Delhi.”
Elaborating further on his days of struggle, which lasted for over 15 years, Nawaz says, “Times were really bad. I had no money. I used to borrow money from people and then when the time used to come to return it back, I would borrow it from someone else and return it to the first person I had borrowed it from. This cycle of lending money went on for a very long time. I often thought I should go back home, but then felt, people back home would make fun of me. When I left my village to become an actor, many people from my village told me — ‘Kya actor banega, you don’t even look like an actor.’ ‘You need a good body, good looks… you will be wasting your time in Mumbai’, but somewhere deep down I knew this was my calling and I had to pursue it.”
Well, those who have the courage to chase their dreams and passion despite all the setbacks definitely reach their goals. “I always believed that hard work pays. Maybe a little late in life, but hard work certainly pays,” says the National Award winning actor, whose strength during those tough days was his mother.
“My mother was my strength, she once wrote a letter to me in which she mentioned this one particular quotation, which has stayed with me ever since. I remember it had been almost six years since I was struggling in Mumbai to find work, to make a mark for myself. And at that time, my mom sent me this letter, which said - ‘baara saal main kachre ke bhi din badalte hai toh befikar raho, do whatever you want to do just don’t give up.’ When I read that quotation, I was like - abhi toh sirf 6 saal hua hai. It is not 12 years yet. After 7 – 8 years, things finally started working out for me. Every time I used to feel dejected, I used to remember my mom’s quotation. Main yehi samaj raha tha ki main kachra hoon, but one-day things will change.”
And things did change eventually. In 2012, Gangs Of Wasseypur released and Nawaz’s destiny took an about turn. The film not only made people sit up and take notice of this versatile actor but also got him international acclaim. Then came the National Award for his notable performances in films like Kahaani, Gangs Of Wasseypur, Talaash and Dekh Indian Circus. Not only off-beat cinema, but Nawaz is also making his mark in commercial films like Kick, Badlapur and the recently released Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Today Nawaz is at the peak of his career and has set and inspiring example for one and all – that no matter how tiring the road is, once you start on your journey don’t look back till you reach your destination.
Practical, is too small a word. Go on, make your mark, and who knows, your passion could bring you your next paycheck. Visit Signature Start Up page on LiveInStyle