The world would have been devoid of a gem if not Gangs Of Wasseypur. It took us 20 years to realise that a man making his niche with cameos actually deserved the whole screen to accommodate his giant calibre. Some actors are born phenomenon, and even playing a role as minute in a film as a pickpocket make themselves noticed. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is one such phenomenon which has proved his mettle with cameos until Anurag Kashyap gave him the entire stage to flourish.
You don’t believe it? I can list down at least 4 cameos by the actor without even Googling once. The thief in Munna Bhai MBBS, Aja Nachle’s blink and miss character, he made his debut with a cameo, you guys, the criminal in Sarfarosh. I promised you 4, right? How can we forget the orchestra guy from DevD’s Emotional Attyachar? Till the audience lapped him as Faisal, Nawazuddin Siddiqui made a career out of cameos and aced each of them.
Today as the man celebrates his birthday, we list down some of his most alluring work you should watch and celebrate the day.
I am a bit selfish, and mentioning The Lunchbox first is proof. A story of finding hope, hook and ourselves in life, is about Sajan and Ila. But Ritesh Batra in Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s character brought out the gest of the gazillion nameless men we meet every day on our commute, men who want their daily struggles to be heard. They might not be glamourized enough to make you go wow, but they are honest and practical.
A film that will sit like a knot in every Indian’s stomach. Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday also had Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a cameo, but a meatier cameo than the ones he had done. He played Tiger Memon’s manager Azgar Mukadam, the first one to be convicted in the blast. Fear, resistance and vulnerability were the three things that drove his act and made it notice.
I would suggest you watch this gem of a film by Nandita Das before reading or hearing anyone else’s opinion about it. Nawazuddin Siddiqui played a Muslim man Hanif, a man who is angry and filled with vengeance, as his home was brought down by the people who instigated riots. It is a difficult character. The traps that can pull the whole purpose and energy down were everywhere, but Nawaz sailed through it.
It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Nawaz was born to play Sadat Hassan Manto in his biopic Manto. The film again directed by Nandita Das is a masterclass at how entertaining, cathartic, and to the point, biopics are made. Manto was a man marinated in his own thoughts. His characters were outspoken, strong-minded and didn’t really follow society standards of being a ‘noble’ person. And everything out of that was the writer himself. The journey from cluelessness to becoming his characters is something you must watch.
Gangs Of Wasseypur 1 & 2
You were expecting this at the top, but I wanted to hook you. I admitted that I am selfish right at the top! Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs Of Wasseypur is a cult, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Faisal is an iconic character. A journey of a man who is all kinds of cruel, but also has a beating heart was path-breaking for Hindi cinema. A character that is so complex that you don’t know which side of the spectrum it belongs to, and the actor with his prowess making it tougher.
This is the most underrated Nawazuddin Siddiqui performance. I bet the majority of us haven’t even seen it. A short film directed by Dibakar Banerjee for the anthology Bombay Talkies. A jobless man is out there to look for a livelihood. While strolling on a film set, he is roped in for a 2-minute long role. The actor in him unleashes and he realises what tsunami was forever hiding inside him. You have to watch this one.