Happy Birthday, Nawazuddin Siddiqui! Here are his 5 most celebrated performances

Not only can Nawazuddin Siddiqui convincingly portray somebody being utterly brutal or rough, he is equally capable of creating a place in your heart with his almost naive mannerism or vulnerability.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Nawazuddin Siddiqui

After starting his career in 1999 with Sarfarosh, he shone bright with the role of Faizal Khan in Gangs of Wasseypur (2012). Ever since then, Nawazuddin Siddiqui has proved time and again that he is an actor who is capable of transporting you to his world with his acting chops. Not only can he convincingly portray somebody being utterly brutal or rough, he is equally capable of creating a place in your heart with his almost naive mannerism or vulnerability. It is perhaps why he is the only actor in the world to have eight films officially selected and screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

As the actor rings in his 46th birthday today, we look at some of his finest work:

1. Faizal Khan - Gangs of Wasseypur

If you have seen this movie, you cannot forget the scene wherein Nawaz keeps his hand on Huma Qureshi's hand without her permission. This scene has a separate fan base altogether. In the entire film, he keeps on asking for her permission, be it for sex or a movie date. It makes it a worth watch to see an actor pulling off all the scenes with totally blank expression on his face and still making us roll on the floor laughing. 

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

2. Saadat Hasan Manto - Manto 

The biographical drama on famous Urdu author Saadat Hasan Manto, set in India of 1940s, by Nandita Das, sees Nawazuddin bringing to screen a celebrated and controversial writer who finds his artistic choices challenged by censors. The film follows the most tumultuous four years in the life of Manto. In Bombay, Manto and his stories are widely read and accepted. But as sectarian violence engulfs the nation and Manto makes the difficult choice of leaving his beloved Bombay and move to Lahore, he finds himself bereft of friends and unable to find takers for his writings. His increasing alcoholism leads him into a downward spiral. Through all of this, he continues to write prolifically, without dilution. Nawaz not only convincingly plays his journey but also allows us to witness Manto’s emotions and how he gets consumed in his writings, beliefs and alcoholism. 

3. Rafi - Photograph

Nawazuddin’s Photograph is a story of a struggling Mumbai street photographer pressured to marry by his grandmother who convinces a shy stranger to pose as his fiancée during a family visit. Despite vast cultural differences, the pair develops a surprising connection that challenges their worldviews in a wistful and funny romance. The film proves to be another masterpiece from Ritesh Batra who directed The Lunchbox

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

4. Raghavan - Raman Raghav 2.0

The neo-noir psychological thriller, directed by Anurag Kashyap, sees Nawazuddin playing Ramanna, a maniac murderer, who finds a soulmate in Raghavan, a policeman played by Vicky Kaushal, who inspects his murder cases. As he tries to make Raghavan realize how they both are similar, his strange obsession with him keeps on growing as he closely follows him without his knowledge and often creates situations where both of them come face to face.

Set in present-day Mumbai the story is inspired by an infamous serial killer from the 1960s Raman Raghav. 

5. Ganesh Gaitonde - Sacred Games

Sacred Games, the first Netflix original series in India, based on Vikram Chandra's 2006 novel of the same name, saw Nawazuddin Siddiqui essaying the role of a gangster called Ganesh Gaitonde. Nawazuddin, who was the first choice of the makers to play this role, didn’t leave any stone unturned to ensure that this character is as brutal as he is humane and he portrayed all the shades perfectly. In an interview, Motwane, one of the makers, said, “Nawaz has that aura and almost everything that's required to play a gangster”.

Streaming on Netflix

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