On Sunday (August 23, 2015), Nawazuddin Siddiqui visited Gehlore in Bihar, the birthplace of Darshrath Manjhi. The actor plays the character of Manjhi in the biopic Manjhi The Mountain Man.
Nawazuddin was given a grand welcome by the villagers. Locals lined up to have a glimpse of 'Manjhi' and treated him as their own.
An emotionally touched Nawazuddin was quoted saying
"They look at me as the real Dashrath Manjhi. The entire village calls me 'Baba', as they used to call Manjhi. It is unreal. I've never in my entire career been so deeply affected by any role. I've poured the entire reservoir of emotions at my disposal into playing this part."
The actor says he feels very blessed by the love and attention showered on him by the villagers.
"I have established some kind of a connect with Manjhi's soul. It is not a normal rapport between actor and character. And the locals, his family friends and villagers who knew Manjhi personally sense how deeply I am connected with Manjhi. We could make this film only because Manjhi's village, the people close to him, believed in me and the project."
He also feels the role belonged only to him and it was destiny that connected him to Manjhi's soul. "I don't think I'd have been able to bear anyone else playing Manjhi. The role is mine. It was always meant to be mine. This film and my role are destiny."
Manjhi The Mountain Man which is directed by Ketan Mehtta is out in theatres and the movie stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte. The story is based on true life events of a man who breaks down an entire mountain to avenge the death of his beloved wife, who slipped down the mountain and died.