Nawazuddin Siddiqui at IFFI 2022: I refused to sign for Sacred Games, but Anurag

Nawazuddin Siddiqui took part in a Masterclass session at the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2022 in Goa. He shared many anecdotes and stories about his struggling days and even reflected on signing key projects like Sacred Games. The big revelation was that he initially refused Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Neeray Ghaywan’s acclaimed series.

Nawaz revealed, “When I was first approached for Sacred Games I refused to do it. I was under the impression that it’s a TV series and I had little knowledge of OTT. We used to say, ‘
Ye OTT kya hai, OTT koun karta hai?‘ I was told that the series would be launched and stream in more than 190 countries at one go. But it didn’t pique my interest at all.” Thankfully, Anurag Kashyap didn’t take Nawaz’s refusal for granted. Nawaz explained, “But Anurag (Kashyap) didn’t give up, he convinced me to do it. He showed me a map where he pointed to lights illuminated in 190 countries and he said, ‘
Ye dekh, ye jitni bhi locations pe light jal rahi hai na, wahan pe ye series dikhai jayegi’. That is when I agreed to do Sacred Games.

It wasn’t just the Sacred Games exposure that worked wonders for Nawazuddin’s career. He’s been a sought after name in Hollywood for long now. There’s been news about his American film Laxman Lopez as well. Talking about the difference between Hollywood and Indian films he said, “We can’t compare the working environment of our films with that of Hollywood. When you work on a Hollywood set, there’s absolute silence. Between shots, the actor gets a silent environment to focus on their preparation. Conversely, on our film sets people are shouting on top of their voice. The assistants and technicians are yelling at each other, it operates like a market. Even when the director shouts out for silence, it takes a while for things to settle down and the voices erupt again in a few minutes. We can’t compare the processes of Hollywood and India.”

Recalling his first stint with acting, Nawaz said, “I used to feel when an actor is on stage, if he cries the audience cries, if he laughs the audience laughs. It’s such a fraud but it’s a beautiful fraud. What could be a better field to be in? That’s why I left everything, quit my job and started working in Gujarati plays.” Eventually, he found out about more lucrative opportunities in Hindi theatre. He recalled, “Then someone told me, plays in Hindi are quite popular as well. Intrigued, I started trying for Hindi theatre and they required me to have previous experience of writing, directing plays. So I lied in the form and wrote that I had written and directed several plays before. That got me into Hindi theatre and the rest is history.”

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