Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui says bringing lower middle class men’s simple yet profound life story on screen gives him the opportunity to explore different human emotions.
Siddiqui, a National School of Drama (NSD) graduate, has established himself as one of the most sought after performers in Hindi film industry courtesy his portrayal of the complex common man in films like Kahaani, Gangs of Wasseypur series, The Lunchbox, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and web series Sacred Games.
The 46-year-old actor believes playing characters that belong to working class enriches him as an artiste.
“Each person is different from other, especially in lower middle class families. People have various shades. Their life struggles are different from one another, unlike the rich who wear a mask and have a cliched way of life.
“As an actor, I feel rich when I get to explore this (lower middle class) society. I want to explore different minds,” Siddiqui said during a session titled Making of Serious Men at India Film Project on Saturday.
The actor said when essaying a layered character he relies on the director’s vision.
“I try and understand the vision of the director and mould myself as an actor,” he said adding that he followed the same process while working on his latest Netflix movie Serious Men, directed by Sudhir Mishra.
The film is an adaptation of author Manu Joseph’s 2010 novel of the same name. It chronicles the story of an ambitious underachiever who capitalises on his son’s newfound fame as a boy-genius to improve his family’s fortunes.
The film offers a stark commentary on caste discrimination and upper class privilege through its protagonist Ayyan Mani (Siddiqui), a Tamil Dalit, who keeps challenging the system which has oppressed people for generations.
“I have met a lot of people who are like (Ayyan Mani) and they do feel they have something less in life but they don’t play the victim card or look for sympathy,” Siddiqui said.
Produced by Bombay Fables and Cine Raas, Serious Men also stars Aakshath Das, Shweta Basu Prasad, Nassar, and introduces actor Indira Tiwari.