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The Rise & Fall Of Nawazuddin Siddiqui

In the decades that I’ve been following the careers of actors filmmakers and other architects of Indian cinema, I’ve seldom seen anyone change as drastically as  Nawazuddin Siddiqui. From being a fiercely dedicated theatre actor trying his luck in the movies Nawaz turned into a popular character-actor whom filmmakers trusted to bring a sense of excitement into the plot when all else failed.

In short, one of the natural-born scenestealers  of Indian cinema like Mehmood, Om Prakash,Kader Khan or Shatrughan Sinha.

 I don’t think Nawaz liked being placed  in the category  of these great character-actors. Nawaz wanted  to be a star like Shah RukhKhan. This  is  when the change began to show. From being the  genuinely  humble and unspoilt son of the soil from a small fillage inUttarakhand , Nawaz  suddenly began playing the part  of  the genuinely  humble..  etc.

It didn’t take long for  the chinks  to  show in the armour. There was a case of domestic violence against Nawaz’s family and murmers  of  his extra-curricular activities  outside his home. When I asked him about it he denied the allegations pointblank saying, “Sir main  jaisa tha waisa hi hoon. Yeh film industry  mujhe nahin badal sakti.Meri biwi sachchai janti hai.Mere liya itna  qafi hai.”

 The  speech was delivered  with such seeming earnestness I  believed him completely, not paying attention to the warning bells inside me that  good actors are  even better actors  off screen.

Last year  the bubble burst  completely. Nawaz’s  ill-advised kiss-and-tell  memoir naming women whom he dated and  shaming them in   the most unchivalrous way, substantially eroded  the  actor’s  son-of-the-soil image exposing a manipulative mind that doesn’t care how deeply affected others are by his selfassertions.

I  was  shocked  by the change in Nawaz. This was  not the actor I  knew. Even now when he stands accused  of invading his wife’s privacy by spying on her phonecalls, I feel Nawaz is  only  acting the role  of  the spoilt selfseeking star.  Because, star he  is  not  . Not anywhere except his head.

Self-seeking he has  always been. I remember when the  lovely Chitrangada Singh had refused to do what she  thought was a vulgar love-making scene with Nawaz, he made sarcastic statements about a co-star who doesn’t want to get intimate with an actor who is not socially her equal.

When I  challenged him on the sheer uncouthness  of  the above accusation he said, “Aap toh jaante hain,Sir. Media  kuch bhi likhdeta hai.”

The  only problem is, this was being said in a  video interview , so no point in blaming the  media.But who  is  going to explain this to an actor who is  growing more and  more distanced  from his true identity?

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