Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui tells Chahak Mittal that the film Motichoor Chaknachoor is about mid-city aspirations and not metros
Be it the role of a terrorist, a gangster, a photographer, a writer, a policeman, a politician, a teacher or just a person from the crowd, actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui has left no stone unturned in making his presence count on the big screen. However, in his list of versatile characters and film genres, only a romantic one was missing.
And with his latest venture, Motichoor Chaknachoor, that space has been filled. He tells us what prompted him to pick up this character since he has never essayed such a role before. He says, “I had been thinking on it for a long time. I have played roles like that of Manto, Thackeray, Gaitonde, which could be categorised as serious and intense ones. So now, I wanted to do some light-hearted, easy films. I wanted to try the romance genre too. And then I came across this script. It had all those halka-phulka (light) elements as well comedy that I was looking for.” Another reason for him to choose this genre was his eight-year-old daughter. “I also wanted to make a film which my eight-year-old could watch. She is usually not able to watch my films because they are mostly A-Certified. I want her to watch my films as she is growing up now,” he says and recalls how she couldn’t even watch Manto, since it had some “intense” scenes.
Set the Bhopal, the film revolves around Pushpender Singh, a 36 year old man, who is desperately looking for a wife, and Annie (played by Athiya Shetty), who is looking to marry an NRI guy and has her dreams and eyes set in Dubai.
Even though with women becoming more independent now, the idea of them looking for NRI men to settle is an old one. They can very much go by themselves. However, Nawaz clarifies that the film is about mid-city aspirations, not metros. He adds, “If you go in small towns, you’ll find girls who are still looking for such men, with whom they can settle abroad. And even though they might not find someone themselves, they’re free to tell their preferences to their parents. Even parents ask them now.”
For Nawaz, it is not important that every film gives a message if the content is good. “Message automatically comes across. Deliberately thinking that a film should have a message looks preachy. Here, without digging deeper, you automatically get to know that the film follows a guy and a girl, who have their respective conditions to get married. The girl wants her husband to be working in Dubai so that she can update her Facebook status as that. The guy has aged a bit and hence, is desperate for marriage. They both live in their own different worlds and when the two meet, the girl gets to know that the guy doesn’t work abroad. She is disappointed,” he says, highlighting that it’s very much the reason why the film is titled as Motichoor Chaknachoor. He adds, “Kyunki, uske motichoor ke sapno ka chaknachoor hojaata hai.”
The film is added to the list of those which have talked about or showcased a story from the small towns in India. And there have been numerous recent examples of them, where the hero could be flawed and poor and the heroine could be non-glamourous and one among the crowd yet a powerful one. Nawaz, whose Photograph was a recent example, points out that it’s the trend that Bollywood follows — changing its pattern every five years. He says, “You didn’t watch such ‘realistic’ films five years ago. Things keep evolving with time. If you watch a film that was made five years ago, it would be different than what is made today. Five years from now, we would again see some different kind of content. And stories from small towns being shown on the big screen is a good thing. This way more people are able to connect to films and in a way that they remember their own lives when they watch them. Vaise isse bhi bore hojayenge kuch dino me. Then, there will come another trend (laughs).”
He pauses for a while, smiles and continues with an example of how films on bandits and gangsters had become the talk of the town some years ago. “Sabhi picture bas daakuon ke upar hi thi (All the films mostly revolved around bandits. There was various types of daakus like Chambal Ka Daaku. And then there was Aakhiri Daaku, the last one!” he chuckles.
For Pushpender’s role, Nawaz didn’t have to do any special research or hard work since it came from everyday life. In fact, if there was any reference, it came from his own experience. “People will feel connected with this film because they can find its characters around their neighbourhood. Even I have been through it when my mother was looking for potential girls for me to get married,” he says and laughs.
Nawaz’s roles have been a testament of how the idea of the Indian hero has evolved. The idea hero could be found even in a supporting actor. So how is it that he selects his. He says, “If the role takes me out of my comfort zone and challenges me, I’d like it.”
So how have such versatile roles in films like Gangs of Wasseypur, Haraamkhor, Sacred Games, Manto, Thackerey, Talaash shaped or transformed him as a person? The answer lies in emptiness. “Just like they say that if you take something from a character, even that takes a lot from you,” he says and adds, “At the end of the day, I realise that I am empty in a way that mera apna kuch nahi bacha (there’s nothing that belongs to me). To fill that up, I go back among my people and the world. I try to feel what it’s like to be around them and hear their stories. And then when I get a role, I fill up that space with it.”
For Nawaz, every role is like taking water from a well and pouring it somewhere else to fill it up. “That’s what I do. For me, the world is a well, which is filled with water. And I keep drowning myself into it and dig out the stories and experiences of people, which are like water for me.”
Photo: Pankaj Kumar
Saturday, 16 November 2019 | Chahak Mittal | in Vivacity
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