I saw a lot of possibilities in Ali’s character – Nawazuddin
His last few films like Raman Raghav 2.0 and Badlapur had him playing dark, intense characters. But in his latest film Freaky Ali, Nawazuddin Siddiqui is all set to break that image as he showcases his impeccable comic timing. Siddiqui who has been part of several comedy plays, admits that comedy comes easily to him. This is also the first time that we see the talented actor dancing, something that he was apprehensive about.
To know more about his character and film that revolves around golf, Pandolin caught up with Siddiqui in a candid chat. From his experience of working with an actor-director to his new-found addiction to golf to exploring the freakiness of his character, Siddiqui talks about it all.
When you were approached for the film, what was the one thing about the film that clicked with you?
The thing that clicked with me was the one-liner of the movie, which was very strong and it is something that can connect to people. He (Nawazuddin’s character) is a goon who is into extortion and sells underwear, but one chance changes his fate. This ordinary man becomes a champion! I liked this concept. I saw a lot of possibilities in this character. There are some movies that you do for yourself and some for the audience; Freaky Ali is a movie for the audience.
Tell us more about this character.
Ali is a goon who is into extortion and he loves cricket. His life changes when he goes to a golf course to collect money. So it is a story about a normal person making it big. There is a lot of freakiness in the character; he doesn’t do anything straight and doesn’t believe in taking the normal path, be it any work, extortion or selling underwear. He has his own strange or ‘freaky’ way, even when he is playing golf. He plays the game in his own manner, but still manages to put the ball in the hole; so he has that talent. Ali’s character has been explored very well by the director.
There is a lot of freakiness in the character; he doesn’t do anything straight and doesn’t believe in taking the normal path
How was it working with director Sohail Khan, who is an actor himself, does that increase the scope of understanding?
Since he is an actor himself, a lot of things were easy. He understands the mood of an actor and that is why the process of shooting the film was very spontaneous. He is also aware of an actor’s temperament as that would affect the scene and the shooting. So the entire process was great and more importantly, it was fun shooting Freaky Ali.
How different was the atmosphere while shooting a comedy film versus an intense story?
I enjoyed working on Freaky Ali because of its simplicity factor. All the actors had an element of innocence in their performance and that is visible in the movie as well. The chemistry that the cast shared was the same on and off camera. You see this in very few films, and it’s the director who had created such an environment because he himself is easy-going. This is very difficult to achieve and I’m glad I was a part of this movie.
This is the first time that we see you shaking a leg on screen, how comfortable were you with dancing?
I had a lot of mental blockage regarding dancing because I have never danced in real life. I was never the type who would dance at any family functions or parties, so I wasn’t used to any kind of dancing. But then we did rehearsals and step-by-step I started getting comfortable with dancing. Even though the steps are not that difficult, they are choreographed in a way that is meant to be enjoyed. But yes, it was challenging for me.
I had a lot of mental blockage regarding dancing because I have never danced in real life
I’ve read somewhere that unlike films, where you have played intense roles, in theater you have majorly played comic roles, did that help while working on Freaky Ali?
Absolutely, I think I have done around 60 to 70 plays that fell in the comedy genre. But when I entered the film industry, no one thought that I could do it (comedy), they thought that I had an intense face and so I was getting roles like that. But comedy comes quite easily to me because I have done a lot of comedy plays. In fact, at times if our play was an hour long, but we were getting a positive response from the audience, we extended the time. I have also done a lot of stand-up comedy in my life. So yes, comedy comes easily to me.
How easy or difficult was it for you to learn golf?
I have never really been into sports, I wasn’t ever interested in them. A little before we were about to start shooting, I started practicing golf. Though at the beginning you think that it is a difficult game, but once you understand the nuances, it becomes simple.
I liked golf because you don’t need a team to play this game, you just need your kit and that’s it. The best thing about the game is that it teaches you patience, concentration and focus. Even a slight variation in focus can ruin the game. When you look at golf, it looks very easy, but while playing you understand how exactly the game works. I myself have started playing now; in fact, I am addicted to golf.
Given your experience and knowledge, do you wish to venture into writing or direction or even producing?
I have tried my hand at writing, but that was eight years ago. As an actor I can visualize scenes, I can show you a scene, but I cannot write. I cannot direct or write, nor did I ever wish to; I am a thorough actor. And, as for producing films goes, that is something that I haven’t decided yet. But yes, last year I did produce a short film Miyaan Kal Aana, which revolves around divorce. The movie has traveled to around 17 film festivals around the world and has won awards in most of them. In fact, it received an award last week in Los Angeles.