Nawazuddin Siddique is an inspiration. The actor has leaped bounds of obstacles to achieve monumental success. From making small bucks with minute roles in ‘Sarfarosh’ (1999), ‘Munnabhai MBBS’ (2003) and ‘Dev D’ (2009); the actor went on to change the course of Indian cinema with masterpieces such as ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ (2012) and ‘The Lunchbox’ (2013).
He has the capability of morphing into any role and easily grasps the psychological and emotional functions as per the requirements. A product of National School of Drama, the actor has made India proud with colossal masterworks and still maintained his roots with Indie cinema. A part of the actors who brought a new wave in the Indian industry, he has been the catalyst of change. Nurtured under the cinematic genius Anurag Kashyap, the actor has dexterously infused his experiences in the Indie scene with the commercial works.
The truth is that Siddique’s array of performances is brilliant. I personally feel that the actor has nailed every instance and nuance of his roles, making not a single error. He is a legend in film festivals, with most applauding his works. The actor has been praised by greats, with veteran film critic Roger Ebert praising his performance in Prashant Bhargava’s ‘Patang: The Kite’ (2012). He has won Filmfare Awards and National Film Awards.
For his list, I have taken the films from a critical and a commercial perspective but, most importantly his performance as an actor. Here’s the list of top 12 movies of Nawazuddin Siddique.
12. Talaash: The Answer Lies Within (2012)
With a star-cast consisting the trio of Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Rani Mukherjee; it could be quite stagnating. However, Nawazuddin Siddique shone brightly in Reema Kagti’s directorial debut. Essaying the role of Tehmur, the actor showcased his dexterity in understanding the rural-urban mind-set. He set quite well in the screen while transforming the director’s ideas into his acting genius. The actor brought out the best in his segments, infusing a certain comical element to quite a serious tone. His efforts earned him quite a many accolades, including the Asian Film Award for Best Supporting Actor.
11. Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa (2013)
A dark comedy directed by Buddhadev Dasgupta, this 2013 flick stars Nawazuddin Siddique as the titular character. Playing Mohammad Anwar, a detective whose tendency to involve himself personally into the cases and his clients, lands him into deep water, the actor again mesmerises with his performance. He amalgamates the two genres with a masterful grasp and splurges out another technically brilliant performance. The actor’s efforts in ‘Kahaani’ (2012) and ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ (2012) earned him the role, and he does not disappoint.
10. Raees (2017)
Essaying the role of IPS Jaideep Ambalal Majmudar, Siddique brought out a grit and determination to an otherwise “masala blockbuster flick”. Majumdar is a no-nonsense cop, who is trying to bring down a liquor baron. The actor brought out a mature performance and adds an essence of his own interpretation, and with perfection. While Shah Rukh Khan elevates the film’s prospects with his superstardom, Siddique elevates it with his masterful grasp on understanding the aim, characters and the director’s perception.
9. Kahaani (2012)
‘Kahaani’ had a barrel of exquisite characters. A pregnant woman on a mission to set things right, a seemingly quirky looking assassin and a group of Bengali officers with the perfect Bengali accent; Siddique could have gone unnoticed quite bad. However, thanks to a gorgeous writing, the actor brought out another no-nonsense cop with brilliance. A. Khan is not interesting. He has no mannerisms and does not have a peculiar or odd look to him. However, the actor, mustering all his experience and calibre, brought out a technically sound performance.
8. Monsoon Shootout (2013)
In the same array of many unreleased Siddique films, ‘Monsoon Shootout’ takes on a cop’s life altering decision of shooting criminals or not. Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Tannishtha Chatterjee, the film deals with human subjectivity and the decision making perception. The performances earned the acting team hug praise, many applauding their capability of understanding the neo-noir genre and transforming according to the requirements.
7. Manjhi – The Mountain Man (2015)
Playing the titular character, Nawazuddin Siddique perfectly amalgamates art with soul. Sharing the screen with Radhika Apte, the actor dons the role of Manjhi, a poor labourer in Gehlaur village, near Gaya in Bihar, India, who carved a path 30 feet wide and 360 feet long through a hill of 25 feet using only a hammer and chisel. The actor brought out the rich organic essence, elevating the emotion turmoil faced by a man through his physical and psychological representation.
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6. Dekh Indian Circus (2011)
A satirical comedy on rural India’s economic struggle, this Mangesh Hadawale directed flick stars the brilliance of Tannishtha Chatterjee and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Essaying the role of Jethu, the actor moulds according to the psychological struggles of the rural mind-set. He brings out an impressive take on how to carve out a soulful performance while maintaining a technical nuance to it.
The performances of Siddique and Chatterjee were met with immense praise, with them winning Best Actor and Actress at the New York Indian Film Festival.
5. The Lunchbox (2013)
Acting as an emotional and psychological foil to Irrfan Khan’s Saajan Fernandes, Siddique plays Shaikh, an incompetent accountant who is working under Fernandes. While ‘The Lunchbox’ primarily focuses on Irrfan Khan’s and Nimrat Kaur’s story, his character is used to create a character-development for Khan’s character. The problem with playing such characters is that there can be a tendency to play the second-fiddle to the lead. However, Siddique masterfully does justice with the limited screen time.
4. Badlapur (2015)
Since his meta-fame with ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, Nawazuddin Siddique slowly transitioned into commercial cinema, with ‘Badlapur’ being one of his initial works. Siddique again showcased a maturity and maintained his roots to pull off the unsettlingly funny but vicious Liak. Directed by Sriram Raghavan, the director painted a character with a merciless and demonic mind-set. However, the actor added a certain humanism which made the audience look at Raghav “Raghu” Purohit’s dark side.
3. Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016)
Based on the serial killer Raman Raghav, this Anurag Kashyap directed flick is a modern-day adaptation of the serial killer’s life. Nawazauddin Siddique donned the role of the titular character. The actor was menacing, soaking with the unsettling mind which slashed off victims with no mercy. Siddique sketched out a mature performance, being aware of his character’s counterpart, ACP Raghavan Singh, played by Vicky Kaushal, and brillianty shared the screen time with him. The actor caught every nuance and instance, splurging out perfection. He moulded his diction, mannerisms and body structure to sketch out the horrifying character.
2. Miss Lovely (2012)
A controversy in the making, this Ashim Ahluwalia directed film chronicles the criminal underbelly of Mumbai’s C-grade horror and porn film industry. Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Sonu Duggal, the younger brother of Vicky Duggal, the movies is story of their relationship and how it deteriorates over the course of being embroiled in the shady business of the C-grade film insecurity. Calling it as his “most real performance so far”, ‘Miss Lovely’ was his first role as a protagonist. His performance is teeming with heart and soul, in which is understands the 1970s industry with excellence.
1. Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)
This is the film which put Siddiqui on the map.
Anurag Kashyap is not shy of portraying the unabashed reality with grotesqueness and stomach churning gore, and he makes sure that his actors do the same. Portraying the revenge ridden Faizal Khan, Siddiqui perfectly captured the character. While we got a small snippet of his masterful calibre in ‘Gangs of Wasseypur – Part I’, Siddiqui completely won over the audience and critics in the sequel. While Manoj Bajpai showcased a blatant realism with grit, Nawazuddin added a tinge of black comedy to it. He infused the reflection of a feared gangster and the man who is failing miserably to convince Huma Qureshi’s Mohsina Hamid to fall in love with him with a comical perfection.
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