I went from being a watchman to becoming the ‘watch me’ man: Nawazuddin Siddiqui shares story of his ‘struggle’

The actor said that his wasn't a journey but only a 'struggle'

Nawazuddin Siddiqui may have become one of Bollywood’s renowned actors and his work has been appreciated by both critics and audience alike. But did you know that before making his foray into Bollywood, the actor has had to sell coriander and work as a watchmen as well. In a recent interaction with social media page, Humans of Bombay, Nawazuddin talked about his ‘struggle’ and revealed how the idea of taking up acting struck him.

Claiming that his wasn’t a journey but only a ‘struggle’, the actor revealed, “I lived in a flat with four other people – it was about survival. I worked odd jobs – sometimes as a watchman, sometimes selling coriander. I even held acting workshops! I must have gone for a 100 auditions and took up every single role that came my way, no matter how small it was. It took 12 years before I got a ‘breakthrough’. It wasn’t easy – the struggle was not beautiful, it was just that; a struggle.”

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“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. 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 #PhotographMovie bring to you the story of Nawazuddin Siddiqui; an ordinary man with an extraordinary journey.

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Talking about his first experience to witness acting on stage, Nawazuddin continued, “Our family would watch Ram Leela plays together. That was my first encounter with acting. One of my friends played Ram and seeing him on stage left me starstruck! I’d imagine playing the role of Ram myself! After college, I worked as a chemist in Vadodara. There, I watched a play for the first time. That night, the thought of being an actor became a dream. So I studied at the National School of Drama and then went where everybody with a dream of acting goes – Bombay. My parents, who weren’t educated themselves, supported me. They said I could do anything as long as I was honest and worked hard.”

But as we all know, Nawazuddin’s struggling days are find behind him. Asked about it, he signed off by stating, “I went from being a watchman to becoming the ‘watch me’ man – and I’m nowhere near being done, so keep watching – I’m here to stay!”

His latest film, Ritesh Batra’s Photograph co-starring Sanya Malhotra, hit the screens today.