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When Nawazuddin Siddiqui revealed how playing Manto made him truthful and blunt

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is one of the most celebrated actors of his generation. In a long career, the actor has gone from playing bit roles and extras to lead roles in award-winning films and commercial blockbusters. As he celebrates his birthday–at the Cannes Film Festival quite fittingly–a look at when the actor revealed how his immersive acting process can be a bane at times. Also read: Nawazuddin Siddiqui bags lead role in American film Laxman Lopez, says ‘It is a welcome challenge that I yearn for’

In 2018, Nawazuddin played the controversial Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto in his biopic Manto. In a bid to get into the skin of his character, Nawazuddin tried to imbibe Manto’s qualities and attributes. In an old interview, the actor said this backfired as he became too blunt and truthful in his real life and ended up paying the price for it. Nawazuddin was notably embroiled in a number of controversies around the film’s release, most stemming from his tell-all memoir that was published around the same time.

In an interview with The Times of India, he said, “You are not a computer. So playing a character like Manto does affect you, and you have to try and get out of it, because you have to move on to the next character, the next project, where you need to start from zero. After finishing the shoot, for the next 10-12 days, I was still in the same emotional state. I called Nandita (Das, the director) and told her, ‘This character should get out of my mind soon, else it will be bad for me.’ Because at that time, I became too honest and truthful. Uss waqt itna zyada sach bolne laga tha ki maine apni band bajwa li (I began speaking so truthfully that I ended up harming myself).

The actor is currently at the Cannes Film Festival, where he walked the red carpet as part of the Indian delegation led by Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur. Talking to Hindustan Times about celebrating his birthday at Cannes, Nawazuddin said, “Representing India is always special. Be it on my birthday or any other day. I have spent five-six of my birthdays at Cannes as it’s been held around the same time every year. I am not a person who celebrates birthdays as such. It’s just like a normal day.”

On Wednesday, he received an early birthday gift though when it was announced that the actor has bagged the lead role in American film Laxman Lopez. Nawazuddin was last seen on screen as the villain in Heropanti 2, which released last month.


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