Celebrated Indian actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui (“Sacred Games,” “Gangs of Wasseypur,” “The Lunchbox”) was in fine fettle at a masterclass at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa, on Tuesday.
The actor, several of whose films have premiered at Cannes, was outspoken in a candid conversation with actor and festival steering committee member Vani Tripathi, speaking about his storied career as an actor and some of his pet peeves.
“I’m sorry to say this, but I have to so that people know about it, before we start a shot [on Bollywood sets] there is so much noise and so many voices and the director expects the best from his actors?,” Siddiqui said. “All of a sudden they say the shot is ready and ‘action’ – are we computers? I have a problem with this – we could achieve so much more with some silence on set, but that’s not possible as we have no silence at all.”
Another peeve of Siddiqui’s is the lack of character descriptions on Bollywood scripts. “Unfortunately, there are very few directors who write characteristics in a script – they write dialogues and direction. The character you are writing dialogues for, what kind of person is he? What is his temperament? It is not written,” said Siddiqui. “They tell me details on set, why don’t they write it in the script?”
Elsewhere, discussing the craft of acting, Siddiqui said that it is important to leave each character behind before moving on to the next one. “If you have to begin from zero, you have to first unlearn what you have learned,” the actor said. He also recounted his early struggles and said how Anurag Kashyap’s “Gangs of Wasseypur” was a turning point in his career. “I was confident that my struggles will get over after this and people will appreciate this movie,” he said.
Siddiqui also reminisced about how he was persuaded to play a pivotal role in Netflix’s “Sacred Games” by Kashyap as he initially thought it was TV and didn’t know much about streaming platforms at that time. The actor shared his experiences of playing divergent roles back-to-back in biopics “Manto,” where he played Urdu author Saadat Hasan Manto, and “Thackeray,” in which he played politician Bal Thackeray and on playing a trans person in the upcoming “Haddi.”
“Acting is my everything, it’s my life. Even one life is not enough to satiate my thirst for acting,” Siddiqui said.