Nawazuddin Siddiqui is quite the name that does not need a heavy introduction now. He was born on 19 May 1974 and is an Indian actor popular for his work in Hindi cinema. He is an ex-student of the National School of Drama. His feature film debut was with director Prashant Bhargava in Patang (2012), and his performance got appreciated by cinema critic Roger Ebert. He also was able to gain international recognition for his work alongside director Anurag Kashyap in the Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Black Friday (2007), duo logy, and Raman Raghav 2.0.
The actor is best recognized for his roles in The Lunchbox (2013), Manto (2018), and Raman Raghav 2.0. He is the only actor in the whole world to have a total of 8 films officially selected and also screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
The actor still continues to take some time out from his filming schedule and farm in his native place (U.P.). He has starred in two Emmy-nominated series, the British McMafia and the series Sacred Games (2019).
Nawazuddin Siddiqui was born on 19 May 1974 in a small town called Budhana in Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh, India, in a zamindari Muslim family of Lambardars. He has a total of eight siblings, and he was the eldest. Most of his youth was spent in Uttarakhand.
He completed his graduation degree in Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya in Haridwar. After this, he worked as a chemist in Vadodara for 1 year before leaving for Delhi in search of a new job. When he was in Delhi, he was in an instant drawn to acting after watching a play. In the pursuit of securing admission in the National School of Drama (NSD) in New Delhi, he tried working in over ten plays with his group of friends, including one in Dehradun, all this to fulfill one of the criteria for admission.
Siddiqui’s first role is as a lead in a feature film was in Prashant Bhargava’s movie Patang; the movie was premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, in which his performance was praised by film critic Roger Ebert (awarded the film 4/4 stars), who said that the role “transformed his acting style.”
In the year 2012, he appeared in four major films: Kahaani, Talaash, Gangs of Wasseypur, and Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 2, all of which earned him broad critical appreciation and awards, including a Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Male and a Screen Award for Best Supporting Actor, both for his role as Taimur in Talaash, as well as the Stardust Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Gangs of Wasseypur.
He then also won the title of Breakthrough Talent at the 2012 G.Q. Men of the Year Awards.
Siddiqui was honored with the Special Jury Award at the 60th National Film Awards 2012 for his performance in the films Kahaani, Dekh Indian Circus, Gangs of Wasseypur, and Talaash.
Recently, he was awarded the highest honor award, The Lesley Ho Asian Film Talent Award, at the well known Singapore International Film Festival, for his work in Sacred Games.
Siddiqui studied at the National School of Drama in New Delhi. After completing his graduation in 1999, he moved to Mumbai.
With a small role in Aamir Khan’s starrer movie Sarfarosh (1999), he made his Bollywood debut. He then made an appearance in Ram Gopal Varma’s Jungle (2000) and School (1999) and also in Rajkumar Hirani’s Munnabhai MBBS (2003). After shifting to Mumbai, he tried and got work in television serials but was not much successful. He then acted in a short film named The Bypass, in the year 2003, where he appeared with Irrfan Khan. After that, between the years 2002 and 2005, he was mostly out of work and lived in the flat that he shared with four other people, where he survived by conducting occasional acting workshops. 2004 was one of the worst years of his struggle when Siddiqui was not able to pay his rent. He asked his NSD senior if he could stay with him. One of his senior allowed him to share his apartment in Goregaon suburb on the condition to cook meals for him.
Between 2004 and 2007, Siddiqui had a few supporting roles in the Black Friday, which came in 2007 and was also a nominee for the Golden Leopard. In 2009, he then appeared in a role in the song “Emotional Atyachar”, playing the role of Rangila. He did a duet with Rasila (known together as Patna ke Presley). He also appeared in New York. But his role as a journalist in Anusha Rizvi’s Peepli Live (2010) first gave him wide recognition as an actor.
Siddiqui then appeared in Kahaani (2012) and Anurag Kashyap’s gangster epic Gangs of Wasseypur, which increased the actor’s fame. His first primary role was as Sonu Duggal in Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely, which premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, a part Siddiqui describes as his “most real performance so far.” Siddiqui then did the sequel to Gangs of Wasseypur. He then also played the lead role in the horror movie Aatma. In the year 2014, he acted as the lead antagonist in Shiv Gajra’s blockbuster Kick.
In the year 2015, Siddiqui’s films Manjhi – The Mountain Man and Bajrangi Bhaijaan were released, and he was praised for both his roles. He was then awarded the Special Jury Award at the 2012 National Film Awards and then the Film fare Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2013. Then he was given the Fancine Malaga Award in Spain and in the Asia Pacific Screen Awards for his work in the movie Raman Raghav 2.0 in 2016, both for the category of Best Actor. Manto (2018), which was a groundbreaking performance that made him win the Best Actor award at the 2018 Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
Another achievement he received when Paulo Coelho recommended Sacred Games to his Twitter followers and appreciated Nawazuddin’s work, calling it “One of the best series on Netflix with the great actor Nawazuddin.”
1. The actor was in high controversy when Police summoned him for allegedly trying to spy on his wife, according to India TV. It is said that Thane police arrested 11 accused, which were mostly detectives, found illegally sourcing call data records (CDR). According to some reports, Siddiqui hired a private detective to spy over his wife and tried taking out her call records.
2. Another time when Siddiqui was in controversy was when his biography ‘An Ordinary Life’ was released because after the actor revealed some information from the book, he was bound to withdraw the book. The actor, in his book, mentioned his love story with his co-star Sunita Rajwar and Niharika Singh. But the ladies were not happy about the reveal and alleged him for distorting facts. Sunita Rajwar bashed at the actor in a Facebook post and called his biography as An Ordinary Life of Extraordinary Lies. Whereas Niharika Singh said that Siddiqui had fabricated the story of their fleeting relationship, contrary to Siddiqui’s claim, which said their relationship lasted one and a half years.
3. Another allegation on the actor was that he used to park his car in the two wheeler’s parking. For parking issues, the actor had another heated argument with a lady from society. A complaint was also filed against the actor for allegedly slapping her.
4. According to India Today, Nawaz also commented that romantic actors just run around the trees, which made Rishi Kapoor very upset, for which he slammed Siddiqui and said it is straightforward to comment but not easy to sing songs and romance the leading ladies. He then called Nawaz an average actor and also said that he neither has the image nor talent to pull off the ‘art’ of dancing around trees like the romantic actor.
5. It is said that there is a cold war going on between Irrfan Khan and Siddiqui from the time of Lunch Box. The reason behind the cold war is not adequately known, but both of them try to ignore each other and also do not talk against each other. In a newspaper, when Nawaz was asked to speak about the four Khans of Bollywood, his lines were, “I thought the fourth Khan we’d talk about would be Saif Ali Khan? Isn’t he bigger? I have no equation or relationship with Irrfan. Mere acting ka alag tareeka hai… Uska Apna alag tareeka hai … (Our acting techniques are different)”.
Some lesser-known facts
1. His father was a farmer and used to run a wood cutting machine.
2. During his childhood, he studied under the lamp because of the rarity of electricity in his village.
3. During the time of his graduation, he participated in various extra-curricular activities such as declamation, painting, and drama.
4. He then moved to Delhi to pursue his aspirations in acting and joined a theatre group. But since there was not enough money in theatres, he worked as a watchman for around five years.
5. He also worked in a petrochemical company as a chemist in Vadodara in the year 1989 but then decided to quit.
6. Nawazuddin is a chain smoker but ensures to never smoke in front of his daughter.
7. Even though Siddiqui has been seen mostly in real life based commonplace roles, he has a dream of playing the character of Prince Salim in Mughal-e-Azam.