Bollywood is slowly getting back to work, with a number of films gearing up to hit the floors from mid-October onwards. Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, too, is eager to face the camera again but at the same time, he isn’t in a tearing hurry.
“As an artist, I surely want to be on the sets, and work. But neither do I want to take a personal risk nor put the cast-and-crew at unnecessary risk by rushing into things,” says Siddiqui, who was shooting for Kushan Nandy’s Jogira Sara Ra Ra when the lockdown came into force around March-end.
“I think a lot depends on the number of (Covid-19) cases etc. (when a film goes on the floor). Let’s see how things pan out,” says the Kick actor, adding: “As far as I am concerned, if things can be worked out, I can shoot wherever I am at that given time because luckily, meri koi bhi film kisi specific jagah pe based nahi hai. They can be shot anywhere.” Siddiqui has spent the majority of his lockdown time at his village, Budhana (Uttar Pradesh), and Dehradun (where his younger brother lives).
Even though theatres have been shut for over six months now, the actor has continuously had film outings — Ghoomketu, Raat Akeli Hai and Serious Men — on various OTT platforms. “What really matters to me, as an actor, is that my work is reaching people regardless of the audiences,” says Siddiqui, who received global acclaim for his web series, Sacred Games.
Ask Siddiqui if there’s a clear distinction between the craft of creating web shows and movies, especially in India, and he says: “For years, we have been making formula (Hindi) films. Ek hero hai, ek heroine hai aur kucch gaane hain. I am not saying ke uss tarah ki filmein galat hain.”
In fact, the Gangs of Wasseypur actor feels it’s not “correct to blame only filmmakers.” “After all, people — over the years — have been watching those films in huge numbers, helping them make money. Even I have been a part of such films. Hamari audiences ko bhi woh cinema kaafi pasand aata hai,” he says.
At the same time, Siddiqui maintains that movies “of all kind should be attempted”. “Most of our Hindi films, at best, can be called musical operas,” he says, adding: “See, formula films will continue to get made. And honestly, the reality is that whichever filmmaker — be it an insider or outsider — gets a chance, they will make the same formula stuff.”
The Manto actor goes on to add that the “same formula” will continue to work. He explains: “Bahut zyaada change nahi aane waala hai, at least in the near future. Even when someone tries something different, not many people appreciate or watch it,” says Siddiqui, who also has feature films such as Bole Chudiyan and Roam Rome Mein, besides Jogira Sara Ra Ra, in his kitty.