Nawazuddin Siddiqui: “Playing Manto made me too honest and truthful”

Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s journey in Bollywood is almost filmy. He struggled for years and played several ‘extra’ roles in movies, before catching a break and today, he is among the most celebrated actors known for his powerhouse performances.

This year, the actor will be ringing in his 47th birthday at the Cannes Film Festival. On the occasion of the actor’s birthday here is a lookback to a time the actor revealed how his immersive process of acting, where he completely allows the character to take over himself can be quite the bane.

In 2018, Nawazuddin worked in the movie, ‘Manto’, where he essayed the role of the controversial Saadat Hasan Manto, noted Urdu writer.

In order to completely capture the essence of his character Nawazuddin worked on imbibing Manto’s attributes and qualities. In an old interview with TOI, the actor had revealed how that had backfired on him because he ended up becoming too truthful in real life too and had to pay the price for his brutal honesty.

Nawazuddin was embroiled in a few controversies around the same time, most of which came from his memoirs which was also published around the same time as the release of the movie.

In his TOI interview, Nawazuddin said, “You are not a computer. So, playing a character like Manto does affect you, and you have to try and get out of it, because you have to move on to the next character, the next project, where you need to start from zero. After finishing the shoot, for the next 10-12 days, I was still in the same emotional state. I called Nandita (Das, the director) and told her, ‘This character should get out of my mind soon, else it will be bad for me.’ Because at that time, I became too honest and truthful. Uss waqt itna zyada sach bolne laga tha ki maine apni band bajwa li (I began speaking so truthfully that I ended up harming myself).”

Nawazuddin is currently in France where he walked the red carpet as part of the Indian delegation present at Cannes this year. The delegation was led by India’s I&B minister Anurag Thakur, as India has been chosen as the Official Country of Honour at Cannes 2022.

Speaking to HT about celebrating his birthday at Cannes, Nawazuddin said, “Representing India is always special. Be it on my birthday or any other day. I have spent five-six of my birthdays at Cannes as it’s been held around the same time every year. I am not a person who celebrates birthdays as such. It’s just like a normal day.”

On Wednesday, May 18, Nawazuddin received an early birthday gift when it was announced that he has bagged the lead in the American movie, ‘Laxmi Lopez’. Nawazuddin’s last appearance was as the antagonist in the Tiger Shroff starrer, ‘Heropanti 2’, which released on April 29, 2022.

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