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Dear Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Happy Birthday



Nawazuddin Siddiqui 

What a birthday present Nawazuddin  Siddiqui’s  wife  has given him. As   the  celebrated actor turned  46  on  May 19 his  wife  sent him a legal notice  seeking divorce , maintenance and their children’s custody. Nawaz, I am sure, won’t fight  her out in  court.  I hope he  doesn’t. It’s time he owns up  to the  mistakes  he has made  , thanks to some of  close relatives and  ill advisers who poisoned  his mind against  his well wishers, me included.

Nawaz and I are back on an even footing. But it  seems  it’s too late for him to mend  all his bridges.

 I have seen  him grow.And I have seen him change.  Nawazuddin Siddiqui was a very simple  smalltown boy with a passion for one thing only. It was  in the June  of 2009 that I discovered  the talent  of  Nawaz. I still remember being  jolted by his monologue about Islamic isolation in Kabir Khan’s  New York. I had never seen anything so raw, wounded and  hurting.

I asked my daughter sitting next to me  in the theatre(that’s where we watched  film once  upon a time)   if this was a  real victim of  terrorism-phobia that had gripped the world, spilling his seething hurt into the camera. She said he was an actor and and done some television.

This was  not enough.

I thought Nawaz was sensational. I  sought him out. Got his  number from Kabir Khan  , interviewed  him. Every conversation  thereafter  he would remind me of how  big a hand I played  in  his belated success.

But an element of artifice and deceit began  to eat  into Nawaz’s personality. He was still warm  and very respectful.  But  the effort to sound humble began to show. I could tell this was not the simple  actor from the hills who only wanted to act. This was an actor who had tasted success and  now craved to be another Shah Rukh Khan.

The image  of  the humble passionate actor took a serious  beating when Nawaz  was wrongly advised to  write his  kiss-and-tell memoir. The fake repugnant  Don Juan tone  used to describe his alleged encounters with  various  ladies was  completely in  keeping with  his new personality of an actor who was raidly losing hold  of  his human-core.

There came  a point  when  I  didn’t  know who this  man posing at Cannes and bragging about his performance  being compared with legends of  the world cinema was.

It was  embarrassing to see Nawaz celebrate his  own alleged greatness. Happily  the process  if healing has  begun.Nawaz has  been using the lockdown period to re-evaluate  re-process and re-boot his lives. We’ve been talking about world cinema and how  inadequate we are  in comparison.  Nawaz is  a hungry  actor once again.

I can’t blame him alone for the change in  him. It is the  people he  surrounded himself with. The limelight moths who  gathered around him creating a delusional cordon shutting him  out from the light of reality.These  sycophants and  opportunists were pumping Nawaz up with myths of  his own greatness.They jumped to his defence and  sent  nasty rebukes and messages   every time there was   criticism of Nawaz.

I have seen actors bigger than Nawaz  turn  into slaves of their own reputation. It is not too late for  Nawaz. He only needs to get rid of the hangers-on who have convinced him that he can be another superstar like Salman Khan. Nawaz has strayed  far away from his roots  . It won’t  be  hard  for him to retrace his  steps and find the centre of his creative universe.

But he  can  do it. It is not  too late for Nawazuddin Siddiqui to  return home.

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