Nawazuddin Siddiqui has been around in the film industry for long enough to have a take on what’s that one thing he wants to change about Bollywood. And considering the recognition he enjoys both in Indian and abroad, what he says is indeed a fair point.
“Yes, I want to change one thing, the name ‘Bollywood’ itself. Yeh jo udhaar ka naam le rakha hai, sabse pehle humein yeh badalna chahiye,” he quips.
Hollywood clearly was the inspiration behind the name given to Indian film industry. What’s also peculiar, and Siddiqui agrees, is that there have been instances where a film or actor was recognised only when it was praised in the West, or got some award.
The 46-year-old says, “Yes, this is a fact. A lot of my films would go to international festivals, and even get awards, but when they would release here, they wouldn’t get much response. It’s only when they get the validation from West.”
Giving the example of his recent web film, Serious Men, directed by Sudhir Mishra for Netflix, which received a lot of praise from both critics and viewers alike, the actor continues, “Thank God, we got such a great response, and it connected with people, but if it wouldn’t have, we would have had doubts ‘yeh kya ho gaya’. Then when it would have got some award in the West, it would have been termed good here too. Yeh cheez toh hai, but fortunately it didn’t happen with Serious Men. People are liking it here. The validation is needed, especially from the West, and it hasn’t changed.”
Siddiqui has starred in the international show McMafia, and his film with Irrfan, The Lunchbox too became popular abroad.
When asked if he has been offered films in Hollywood, the actor confesses and goes on to reveal, “Offers do come, but it’s just not materialising. Aisa nahi hai ki mara jaa raha hoon, ya thappa laega unka tab jaake actor kehlaunga. I am not dependent on that, and neither do I want to be. I want my films to go to the West and tell them that we are no less.”
Does he feel that filmmakers here in India have tapped his full potential, and his talent gets it’s due? Siddiqui says a big yes.
“The kind of work I am getting today, I shouldn’t complain, because that is the kind I wanted. I am happy, and I have no complaints, not with the industry or any person. Talent ki kadar bilkul hoti hai, if you are asking about my journey. If not today, then tomorrow, you will have to give your time, if you have passion. Talent is recognised some day,” concludes the actor, whose films Ghoomketu and Raat Akeli Hai also released on the web during the lockdown.
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