Regular characters never fascinate me – Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is one of the few actors who has embraced dark characters with aplomb. With Anurag Kashyap’s upcoming thriller, Raman Raghav 2.0, Siddiqui ups the ante as he steps into the shoes of a dreaded serial killer. In what is undoubtedly one of the most physically and emotionally challenging roles of his career, the actor plays Raman, a character based on a psychopath who went on a killing spree in Mumbai in the 1960s.
From believing the killer’s theories to imbibing his characteristics, Nawazuddin shares all that he underwent to essay this cold-blooded murderer.
What was it that made you sign an intense thriller like Raman Raghav 2.0?
Regular characters never fascinate me. Becoming a hero was never a fascination too. Nowadays, even heroes experiment with their characters. I love doing films where there’s a challenge for me to essay that role. Since we have just one life to live, I like to push myself to a certain level of discomfort.
Anurag Kashyap and you share an old association. How were you approached for this film?
This was a plan made long ago, almost 4-5 years back. But, the story of Gangs of Wasseypur happened in between and we thought that we should film it first. After Gangs of Wasseypur released, we both got busy with other assignments. Finally, after everything, we got some time to implement this plan.
When you play a specific character in a film, you take something from the character and the character, in turn, takes something out of you
Your last release Te3n was also a thriller. How different are the two films?
Te3n was an emotional thriller and Raman Raghav 2.0, you can say, is a thoughtful thriller film.
Being part of such a dark story couldn’t have been easy. What kind of an emotional impact has the film had on you?
When you play a specific character in a film, you take something from the character and the character, in turn, takes something out of you. At the end of the day, the actor becomes very empty. It happens after essaying each and every character. The film mentally impacted me a lot in my thought process because Raman is not a social person. He doesn’t think much like the normal society. He has a different thought process, a different take on things, a different world and a different logic to everything etc. He gives justifications for the murders and crimes he commits, he enjoys the process but I’m not like that, as a person. Thus, it was so difficult to believe in his theories and his actions. But, in order to essay that character, I had no option but to believe his theories.
How difficult is it to let go of such a character once the film is over?
Whenever I’m done with a film, I have a habit of going to my village and taking to farming. And that’s how I come back to my original status. I have to plough fields, go to nearby villages, talk to their farmers and follow a lifestyle like them. So, I usually get relief or one may say, a proper breathing space around me. When I come back from the village, I’m usually a different, calm and more composed person and I can easily get back to my roles and films.
You’ve played varied roles in your career. How do you manage to keep up the versatility?
It is very difficult to raise or even maintain your standards. It’s really easy to say that I’ve played these roles but only I know how difficult it is to essay those characters. But now I’m habituated to this type of life.
It’s really easy to say that I’ve played these roles but only I know how difficult it is to essay those characters
Would you call yourself a director’s actor or do you believe in improvising the characters you’re playing?
I’m a thick headed person. I don’t really get it when I have to improvise my own characters. I generally listen to my directors and respect their vision. If I live up to their expectations, it’s more than enough for me. So I try to live up to the character and execute its vision.
-Transcribed by Anindita Roy