Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui turns a year younger as he celebrates his 48th birthday today. While Nawaz broke the shackles of nepotism in a closed Bollywood industry and managed to come out on top, there has been a definite stagnation in the kind of roles he has picked in recent times. The roster of movies he has done in the last few years does not exactly warrant the tag of ‘versatility’ either that casuals often tend to tag him with. While Nawaz’s struggle is admirable, in fact inspirational, we need to separate the actor and his struggle and judge him solely based on his acting capabilities.
One of the biggest problems with Nawazuddin has to be getting stuck in a loop. It is that dangerous, forever repeating loop that has hampered Nawaz’s development as an actor. He found early success in the industry playing a certain type of antagonist who is maniacal and dangerous. The audience lapped it up and cheered it vociferously but instead of levelling up, Nawaz made that single ‘act’ his entire on-screen persona ever since.
While there is no problem in being typecast and an actor playing the same role over and over again – the problem arises when the actor thinks of himself otherwise. Hollywood actor Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson does the same and to a certain extent, Ryan Reynolds appears to play himself on the screen every single time.
However, they both have the charisma to pull off the act of playing themselves. The audience still flocks to the theatre to watch them because they have the awe factor. However, the same cannot be said about Nawazuddin who plays the same beat over and over again, albeit without any of the said charisma.
Nawazuddin has always been overshadowed by the acting skills of his co-stars
Starting with Gangs of Wasseypur, we’ll trace his journey as an actor and how he has been overshadowed by his co-stars in the respective movies.
The first part of Gangs of Wasseypur had Manoj Bajpayee as the lead character. I must say that the protagonist cum antagonist nailed it and justified the character in such a way that the cinemagoers still go gaga over his performance. However, as the movie proceeded, it was portrayed that the next part of the movie will project Faizal Khan as the prominent character.
I ask you a question – is it possible for a protagonist who has been given the maximum screen time in a movie to get overshadowed by the co-actors who do not even have half of the screen time. Well, no. But Nawaz’s case is slightly different. Pankaj Tripathi, who played the role of a bloodthirsty, ruthless Suresh Qureshi, very conveniently outshined every actor in the film, leave alone Nawaz.
Unfortunately, Nawaz couldn’t even perform next to Actor Pankaj Tripathi. The other actor who gave an excellent performance is Richa Chaddha. Even though she is a liberal but that doesn’t make her any less than how an actor should be! A terrific performer who, only in a monologue, proved that she will not let others shine in the movie.
Wait, what? If there were any good performances in the movie, they were of the character named ‘Perpendicular’ and ‘Definite’. Definite was the real antagonist as he kills Faizal Khan in the end.
So, in a movie that was supposed to be all about Faizal Khan, other characters such as Nagma, Suresh Qureshi, ‘Definite’, and ‘Perpendicular’ captured the limelight.
Moving next, we have Raman Raghav 2.0 in the cue. Produced by Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Vikas Bahl, and Madhu Mantena, the film stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, and debutante Sobhita Dhulipala. While everyone expected a brilliant performance by Nawaz, it was Vicky Kaushal who stole the show.
Actor Nawaz, with his nauseating south Indian accent, couldn’t do justice and was overshadowed by Vicky Kaushal in the movie.
After Raman Raghav 2.0, another movie that people were waiting for was ‘Badlapur’. Ironically, it was Varun Dhawan who did the honours. Who would have imagined that the actor who wrote a new definition of acting with his performance in the movie ‘Kahani’ could be outshined by newcomer and below-average actor Varun Dhawan?
Nawaz and his routine outbursts
And it appears that Nawazuddin understands that his time in the industry is ticking. As reported by TFI, in October last year, the Sacred Games actor remarked that OTT platforms had become a ‘dhanda (racket) for big production houses’.
Announcing that he was quitting the streaming platforms for good, Nawaz also called the online platforms ‘a dumping ground for redundant shows’. He said, “The platform has become a dumping ground for redundant shows. We either have shows that don’t deserve to be seen in the first place. Or sequels to shows that have nothing more to say,”
Nawaz appears to be under the delusion that he is the only actor that is still connected to the roots. However, the truth cannot be far from it. Actors like Pankaj Tripathi and Sanjay Mishra have long been on the circuit and are far more versatile when it comes to acting chops. However, you wouldn’t see them cursing the very industry that made them big or the people that work behind the scenes.
Moreover, Nawaz is the same actor who had refused to take criticism in his stride after the second season of Sacred Games spectacularly bombed. When an actor considers himself and his craft above any sort of criticism, even from an amateur — it reflects poorly on his performance and security as an actor. Actor Nawaz has the potential to be a true powerhouse but he needs to shed the safety of his cocoon and experiment more. And unless he does that, the audience will only consider him “that” actor who plays a certain kind of monotonous role in every single movie.