Love you Nawazuddin... go ahead!
Mujhe Chand Chahiye by Surendra Verma was the only Novel, which made a remarkable changing in my few "conservative perceptions". After sipping all the pages of this novel, I left myself relax for few days. After few days, One of my office seniors shown interest in that book and without any if and but I gave that book to her. I was little hesitate because I had marked so many lines by Pencil and it would be embarrassing business for me as that colleague was a Girl and my senior as well.
Anyway, The era when I was facing bundle of shocking incidents back to back after my "internship of love", this book provided me decisive remedy to rescue myself from those dire days and nights. I would like to give the credit of my "ongoing survival" to all words including orthography equally. No doubt, NSD(National School Of Drama), which was identified as a turning point for Silbil, secured a very special place in my heart, more than that, I became little close to all those actors or artists, who had been a part of NSD. Very interestingly, Mandi House has also been mentioned in the novel where I am sitting right now.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is one of them. This interview has been copied from TOI.
I can't keep negativity and feelings of revenge: Nawazuddin
Nawazuddin Siddiqui on his frustration during his years of struggle, his helplessness during public appearances and interviews, and why that won't stop him from giving even more of them
Yeh bahut tough hai mere liye," isn't the most encouraging opening line from an interviewee. Nawazuddin Siddiqui's nervousness during promotions is the stuff of every unit's mirth. He admits that he has debilitating stage fright during public appearances, even though that's never a problem during a play. "Ek baar toh bahut crowd tha, Indore mein (during the promotions of Aatma, his last release). Bipasha stage pe gayi aur bol diya 22 March ko zaroor dekhein Aatma. Phir main gaya... aur film ka naam hi bhool gaya!Suparn had to whisper 'Aatma! Aatma!' into my ear. Main toh khul ke bolta hoon, main nervous hota hoon. Pehle hi bata raha hoon, agar gadbad ho jaaye toh," he laughs.
How is it that an actor who's done so many plays has a fear of speaking in public? "Actually main stage par acting kar loonga. As Nawaz jab main aata hoon, tab meri band baj jaati hai, haalat kharab ho jaati hai. Ek toh mujhe words nahin milte, I can't think of what to say, upar kaoff ho jaata hai. And once I forget what I was to say, then it just keeps going wrong; mujhe khud pata nahin hota main kya bol raha hoon," he says, actually sounding sorry. "Mujhe ab tak hairani hoti hai ke yeh kyun hota hai mere saath. Maybe I'll have to train and practice separately for this..."
Itna zyada rejection hua, toh frustration bahut hoti thi
The latest toast of the alternative cinema circuit, Nawazuddin recently got a Special Jury Award at the National Film Awards for four films - Kahaani, Gangs Of Wasseypur, Dekh Indian Circusand Talaash. From about the time of Gangs' boisterous reception at Cannes last year, he's been in great demand for both roles and interviews, getting more visibility in a couple of years than he'd ever dreamed of. But there's still no detachment when he describes the frustration of his years of 'struggle'. "Gussa sirf isliye aata tha kyunki main trained actor tha, aur trained actor ko lagta hai ki maine toh training li hai, mujhe kaam kyun nahin mil raha? That would frustrate me. I'd distribute my picture and bio data, but no one would call. I'd audition, but they wouldn't get what this guy was doing in the audition. And others around me got work."
"Apne aas-paas ke logon ko kaam milte dekh ek jealousy bhi hoti hai aur frustration bhi, ki mujhe kyun kaam nahin mil raha. Main naam toh nahin loonga, lekin jab mere saamne bahut saare log star ban gaye thay, aur mera kuch nahin ho raha tha, woh gap bahut lamba ho gaya - 7-8 saal ka gap ho gaya. I'd do small jobs, stand in the crowd in a show, because you do need money to survive in Bombay. It wasn't as if my parents could send me money, they didn't have that much. I would go do an ad sometimes, play one of 10-15 small characters, lekin camera jaise aa raha hai toh muh chhupa liya ki koi dekh bhi na le, ki saala yeh toh training le ke gaya tha, kya kar raha hai yeh. But when the evening ended, we would get some cash, of which we had to pay half to the coordinator because we didn't have a junior artiste card. Tab bahut zyada hoti thi khundak," Nawaz says heatedly.
"Doosri baat yeh thi ki itna rejection hua, itna zyada rejection hua, uski wajah se frustration bhi bahut hoti thi. But I became more confident about my work. All I needed was footage. I did not get the screen space I needed. I'd started with a 15-second role, and my aspiration was a two-minute role. For many years, I did not get that two-minute role. Mera yeh tha ki main interestingbana loonga, kitna bhi boring character ho. Bas mujhe space chahiye. I got calls only for one-minute, one-and-a-half-minute roles. I did them at first, because I had no option. Baad mein mujhe realize hua ke main ek-ek minute ke scene itne saare kar chuka. Tab mujhe koi phoneaata tha, ki ek scene hai picture mein, bahut badhiya scene hai, tab mujhe khundak aane lagi. Tab maine jaan-boojh ke manaa kiya, nahin karoonga. Khaali baitha rahoonga par nahin karoonga," he continues, "Bahut khaali baitha."
I can't keep negativity and feelings of revenge
And there is no temptation to react when the people who paid him no attention earlier approach him now? "Nahin nahin, jab koi positive kar rah hai... if I meet someone who's rejected me earlier, I wouldn't say to him ke achha saale pehle toh tune reject kar diya tha. Bahut badi baat hai, kaam ki main bahut respect isliye karta hoon kyunki bahut saalon tak main khaali baitha raha. If someone who rejected me 10 years ago calls me for work now, I can't carry any negativity with me. I have to keep moving on. Agar achha hai role toh main definitely karoonga, chahe kisine gaali bhi di ho uss dauran. I can't keep that negativity and revenge because I want to work," he replies.
I was beginning to go mad, till my friend actually did
He says he obviously thought of chucking it all and going back home, but shame stopped him. "Maine kai baar socha wapas chala jaata hoon. Lekin maa-baap, dost-yaar bhi bol sakte thay ke tu toh trained actor tha, wahan kuch banne gaya tha, haar ke wapas aa gaya? Woh joh cheez thi usse bahut sharm aati thi, ki kya muh le ke jaunga logon ke saamne. Aise koi ghar se bhaag jaaye toh alag baat hai, par tu toh bakayda training le ke gaya tha. I thought theek hai, whether it turns out well or badly, whatever happens, will happen here in Mumbai."
He had become used to rejection, so much so that he nearly lost his mind. "If I didn't get selected, big deal, I'd move on to the next one. Lekin itna zyada hone laga tha ki day-to-day life mein,things that other people accomplish in, say, three tries, would take me 10. I didn't know what was happening to me. It had started happening to me even in the little things, routine things. Mujhe gas ka cylinder chahiye tha, paanch din, 10 din struggle kar raha hoon. Passport banwana tha, do-do saal mein passport ban raha hai... actually teen saal mein bhi nahin bana. A to Z, name anything - it started preying on my mind that this is happening only to me," he recounts.
What saved him from going mad, he says, is seeing a friend lose his mind. "Uske bawajood bhi mera dimaag kharab hone se isliye bach gaya kyunki mera ek dost tha, bahut hi karibi dost, uska literal sense mein dimaag kharab ho gaya tha. He was my batch-mate from NSD, he'd also come to Mumbai like me. Seeing him saved me, otherwise it could easily have been me in his place," he narrates sombrely.
I changed gears
He says part of that frustration came from the fact that he kept trying for roles in television, at a time when TV was becoming more glamorous. When he realized that he wouldn't fit into that world of sprawling bungalows, mustard fields and beautiful people, he went back to a lesson his teacher taught him in acting school - "agar acting mein kahin atakte ho, toh jahan atakte ho usse pehle thoda pause le lo. Thoda back gear maar lo, doosre raaste se niklo." He waited for a while, and started speaking to film directors to get them to see his work. It was a combination of changes that turned the tide in his favour, he says. "Pichle 4-5 saal se cinema mein bahut saaredirectors apna individual thought le ke aa rahe thay. Inki zidd thi ke humein yeh particular character chahiye. These people were also fighting. Yeh log bol rahe thay ki humein yehi actorchahiye, hamari script tabhi ban sakti hai," he says. And when this happened, "hum jo ghoom rahe thay idhar-udhar barbaad actors ki tarah, woh bhi lapete main aa gaye," he laughs.
At least the media is talking to us now
For all his angst and his stage fright, the resignation with which bigger stars view the promotional rigmarole is absent. "Jab ek star 25 crore ki film karta hai, tab jaa ke hit hoti hain unki filmein. Hamari pictures 5 crore mein banti hain, log jaake dekhein toh sahi. At our level, we should promote it as much as we can - the smaller the film, the bigger the promotion should be. The growth of media platforms is only good for us, not bad. Pehle filmein banti thi, achhi filmein, but since there was no promotion, it would release in four-five cities and soon disappear from theatres. Main toh chahta hoon ki agar meri 6 crore ki picture bane toh uska 25 crore kapromotion ho, phir dekhte hain kaunsi picturein hit hoti hain aur kaunsi flop." He might find interviews difficult, but he doesn't find them irritating - "at least hamare jaise actors se baat toh kar rahe hain," he says, "Yeh bahut bada change hai."