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Interview Hindi

Nawazuddin Siddiqui: Versatility comes through in your thought, not get-up

At a press interaction, the Munna Michael actor spoke about his 'mental block about dancing', his different looks and the great time he is having as an actor.

Shriram Iyengar

With Sabbir Khan's Munna Michael ready for release, actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui looks comfortable. The actor will be seen in the film with Tiger Shroff and Nidhhi Agerwal, matching them step to step in choreographed dance sequences. It is the first time Siddiqui has picked a film where he has to showcase some form of dance skills. In a press interaction, the Raman Raghav 2.0 actor spoke about the challenge that was dancing.

Following are excerpts from the interaction:

How was your experience with your first dance film?

Very scary. I have never danced before. It was very difficult for me. Thank god there were rehearsals for two-three days. With Ganesh Acharya, he can make even a bamboo stick dance. He says, 'If you can walk, then you can dance'. It was only his efforts that make this possible.

Were the moves very difficult? To match up with Tiger Shroff?

I can not match up with Tiger. He moves every part of his body. I did as much as I could, 1-2% in comparison. I put in my efforts. Let's see if it pays off.

Is it a concerted effort for you, as an actor, to try something different?

Exactly. An actor has to look for challenges, insecurities, pick on roles that force him to take on his own insecurities and challenges. It will allow him to confront his insecurities. I never wanted to be in the comfort zone.

You've never been in a dance film before? Were you surprised that you got this offer?

Of course, because people never thought of making me dance in a film before. Surprisingly, (director) Sabbir thought of it. In the beginning, I did not know that I will have to dance. Later, when they told me I tried to convince them not to make me dance. Mentally, I had a blockage and didn't feel comfortable.
At the same time, there is also the fact that an actor has to take up these challenges and push himself into these uncomfortable zones. From that aspect, it was a kind of exercise for me.

You have mentioned that you are not comfortable, but have you never danced at home? Or with friends?

No, I never did. I used to, in my childhood, when there were weddings in the villages. We, kids, would dance in front of the groom. We only used to do it because people would throw money, and we could get that. I could not use those moves. We would 'freak out'. These (film moves) were more choreographed.

You have changed so many looks for multiple characters this year. Was there any difficulty in changing these? And which was more comfortable?

I never believe in 'get-up'. I never change my get-up for my acting. In Mom, the look was designed by the director. I don't prefer changing my look. The change should be in your mindset. Your thoughts should change according to the character. It should not be that you pick physical things in order to try and show versatility. Versatility comes through in your thought.

You ought to pick a role that is a complete departure from the role you are currently doing. This is versatility.

The character in Mom is such that you will meet them on the streets of Daryaganj and Delhi. They pass by you everyday on the streets, but you never pay attention to them. When you do speak to them, they have this power to attract. They can convince you that they can do anything you want. They are, what we call, 'jugaadbaaz'. We only used a prosthetic wig for the look.

You have two films, Mom and Munna Michael, releasing back-to-back?

Every film has its special point. It has its own flavour. (Munna Michael) is also important to me as it is a very different flavour, it is a masala film. It has all the elements of entertainment. They have not been forced into it, but the structure of the film is such. There is dance, action and other story that has been woven like this.

Your fan base prefers to see you in art, dark roles? Do you worry about that?

I believe that if you have fans, one or two as they are, need to have the vision that I am an actor and I will take up everything that comes my way. If they like you on this base, then well and good. But if someone tells me 'do only these kinds of roles', then that is not possible. It would be better if you follow someone else. They who like me, like me for this very reason that I choose different roles. Successful or not, I do try and pick different roles.

How Piyush Mishra, Habib Tanvir shaped Nawazuddin’s character in Mom

You have so many movies lined up, is that coincidental?

It is coincidental. This year, it was such that two-three films are coming together (Mom, Munna Michael, Babumoshai Bandookbaz).

How is the work going on Manto?

Manto has been completed, about 15 days ago. It is a period film, so there is still a lot left to do. VFX and other elements. We are only looking at a release next year.

What are the other projects that you have on your plate?

For now, I have not signed any film, but will let you know. (About a rumoured Ritesh Batra's film) There has not been an official statement about that.