The Telegraph
Friday , November 30 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nawaz’s 125 scripts

He stood out as IB officer Khan in Kahaani and made us sit up and take notice as Faisal Khan in the Gangs of Wasseypur films. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who will be seen alongside Aamir Khan in Talaash today, is suddenly hot property in Bollywood. A t2 chat...

What was the experience of working in Talaash?

It was very exciting. I have a lot of action sequences in the film. At the same time, my character has a strong emotional core. Many people think that mine is a cameo but I’m actually the second male lead in the film.

How did you land the role?

Nandini (Shrikent), the casting director of the film, was actually told by Aamir to try me for the role. I auditioned and they thought I was right for it.

You made your debut in Sarfarosh [as one of the petty criminals Aamir interrogates in the lock-up] and also acted in Peepli [Live], which was produced by Aamir. How was it sharing screen space with him in Talaash?

Aamir had actually forgotten that I was there in Sarfarosh. During Peepli [Live] I reminded him that my first film was with him. He was very excited. He is a very mature actor and what makes him unique is his ability to deliver a surprise in each of his films. He’s an actor who always keeps viewers guessing his next move. For any actor to extract so much curiosity from his audience is a huge thing.

After Kahaani and Gangs of Wasseypur, there is a curiosity about your films. How are you choosing your roles?

My first consideration is the director. He can be a newcomer but he has to have a passion for cinema and an understanding of it. Further, any script that strikes me immediately is what I take up. Like when I heard the script of Mountain Man (Ketan Mehta) I immediately knew that I had to do the film. It’s the script that actors are crazy about.

How has the industry’s interest in you grown over the last one year?

After Kahaani, I got 125 scripts! And mind you, they cover different genres –– from comedy to art films to suspense. The good thing is that filmmakers have realised that I can do every kind of role.

With 125 offers in hand, the temptation to do more films must be huge.

Out of those, I have just signed two films –– Mountain Man and Aatma (directed by Suparn Verma and co-starring Bipasha Basu). Even now I have at least two-three script narrations each day. How an actor chooses his scripts depends on what he wants –– whether you want to burn out in two years or last 20 years. I choose my films with a lot of care because I have got this far after a lot of patience and hard work.

What is it about Aatma that made you sign on?

What I like about Aatma is that it isn’t a simple horror film... it’s more a psychological thriller. Suparn has worked on this script for three-four years and it shows. I have been a fan of supernatural stories and that’s why I thought Aatma is a good choice.

How was it working with Bipasha, whose cinema sensibilities are quite different from yours?

It’s true that our sensibilities are different but both Bipasha and I met each other midway. She has been very supportive and she fully surrendered herself to the script and to her role… that’s the mark of a committed actor. I think Aatma will be her best-ever performance.

Would you say you have overturned the concept of the conventional Bollywood hero?

I have never really tried to fit into any kind of image and that’s been my USP. What’s important to me is that I am getting roles that I have always wanted to do and I have full freedom in my creative choices. My time has come.