“I grew up in a small town in UP. I come from a family of farm workers; we were 11 people–my parents & my 9 siblings. I was the oldest, so it fell upon me to take care of them.
5 months ago
I made them follow a time table & do their homework. If they were mischievous I’d shout at them–of course, I was the naughtiest! In fact during Diwali, my friends & I would steal diyas!
Our family would watch Ram Leela together–my first encounter with acting. My friend played Ram & seeing him left me starstruck! I imagined playing the role myself! After college, I worked in Baroda. There, I watched a play for the first time & the thought of being an actor became a dream.
So I went where everybody with a dream of acting goes–Bombay. My parents, who were uneducated, supported me. They said I could do anything as long as I worked hard.
My first impression of Bombay was how fast it was. It took me a month to get used to the pace of life–I thought I’d never be able to match up! But slowly I joined the rat race.
I wasn’t well off. I’d borrow money from friends, saying I’d return it in 2 days. Two days later, I’d borrow money from someone else and pay the first person back. I lived in a flat with 4 people–it was about survival.
But my family had my back. They told me to not give up! My mom didn’t have a mobile, so she’d send me letters & they got me through some really tough times. She’d tell me not to worry & remind me that I was only human & doing my best. So that’s what I did.
I did odd jobs–as a watchman, or a coriander seller. I went for a 100 auditions & took every role I got, no matter how small. It took 12 years to get a ‘breakthrough’. It wasn’t easy–the struggle wasn’t beautiful, it was just a struggle.
But I did it. I went from a tiny role in Munnabhai to winning a Filmfare for Lunchbox. I went from being unrecognised in Sarfarosh to being known as Ganesh Gaitonde across the nation. I went from being a watchman to becoming the ‘watch me’ man & I’m nowhere near being done, so keep watching–I’m here to stay!”
HoB with the makers of bring to you the story of Nawazuddin Siddiqui; an ordinary man with an extraordinary journey.