'Dream big, work hard and make it happen'. From doing odd jobs like selling coriander, working as a watchman to becoming one of the most critically-acclaimed actors of Indian cinema, Nawazuddin Siddiqui's rags-to-riches story is an inspiration to millions of people.
Born on May 19, 1974 in Budhana town in Muzaffarnagar district, Uttar Pradesh, the actor hails from a family of farm workers, and is the eldest of eight siblings - six brothers and two sisters. Speaking about his childhood days, the actor recalled in an interview, "We never felt the need for friends as we were more than enough among ourselves. And I was always the ringleader when it came to playing pranks on others."
On his 46th birthday today, we take a look back at how the versatile actor has proved that great things can be achieved with hard work and perseverance.
An Incident Which Changed Nawazuddin Siddiqui's Life
"I remember one occasion when there was nothing in the house, not even tea. My father just had a 10-rupee note which he gave me to buy sugar. It was evening and the streets were dark. When I got to the shop, I realized that I had lost the note. I went home terrified - we hadn't had so much as a cup of tea for the last few days. My father came back with me, retracing my steps to search for the note and fortunately we spotted it under a cart. The moment I saw the note, it was like I got my world back. I just couldn't believe my father had no money. I actually checked his kurta pocket that night when he was asleep, and was horrified to find it absolutely empty. It shook me. For the first time, I began thinking seriously about the future," he recalled in a HT Brunch interview.
His Love For Films
The actor revealed in an interview that there was a makeshift theatre in his village, and it had only a single projector and a white sheet as a screen. "Behind the screen, you could see silhouettes of buffaloes being taken to the water, which became the backdrop to Mithun's and Jeetendra's dance sequences. Our seats were bricks - we sat on our haunches with our knees bent to watch the movies, sometimes for as long as five hours. No city person can sit like that for even five minutes," he was quoted as saying.
Nawazuddin's First Step Towards His Dream
In a Humans Of Bombay post, Nawazuddin revealed, "Our family would watch Ram Leela plays together. That was my first encounter with acting. One of my friends played Ram and seeing him on stage left me starstruck! I'd imagine playing the role of Ram myself! After college, I worked as a chemist in Vadodara. There, I watched a play for the first time. That night, the thought of being an actor became a dream. So I studied at the National School of Drama and then went where everybody with a dream of acting goes - Bombay. My parents, who weren't educated themselves, supported me. They said I could do anything as long as I was honest and worked hard."
How Nawazuddin's Mother Motivated Him To Give His Best Shot
"She motivated me to have patience and faith in God's will. She told me: ‘Even a pile of garbage has a change of fortune every 12 years. You have only been struggling for six years.' She also used to recite a couplet to me: ‘Mita de apni hasti ko, gar kuch martaba chahe, ke daana khaak mei milkar gul-e-gulzaar hota hai.' This was all very inspiring," Nawazuddin said in an HT Brunch interview.
Dreams Do Come True!
Nawazuddin Siddiqui made his film debut with a small role in Aamir Khan's 1999 film Sarfarosh. After a string of insignificant roles in films, the actor landed his first big break with Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday. The year 2012 was the turning point for him, when he finally grabbed everyone's attention with films like Kahaani and Gangs of Wasseypur. Since then, the actor has been unstoppable when it comes to delivering top-notch performances. With films like Talaash, Badlapur, Lunchbox, Kick, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Raees and the highly-popular web-series Sacred Games in his acting repertoire, in Nawazuddin's words, the award-winning actor has become the ‘watch me' man!