His powerful avant-garde roles in offbeat Indian films have set Nawazuddin Siddiqui apart from the true-blue heroes of Bollywood. And that is why the actor, a 'hero' in his own right, suggests that newcomers never let go of their "uniqueness".
Nawazuddin, who was last seen as a Machiavellian villain in Sriram Raghavan's "Badlapur", feels that once most actors get a taste of fame, they start behaving in "a hero- type manner", which takes away their individuality.
"Among what young actors bring with them, there is a uniqueness in every one of them. Don't let go of that when you join the industry. What generally happens is that when people get into the industry, they tend to behave in a particular hero-type manner.
"This shouldn't happen; it takes away one's uniqueness. When you're embodying a character, you should have your own uniqueness, that is very important," Nawazuddin told IANS in an interview.
His own talent to slip into characters with ease has been seen and appreciated in films like "Gangs Of Wasseypur", "Kahaani", "Kick", "The Lunchbox" and "Talaash" - and most recently, in "Badlapur".
The 40-year-old admits "gray characters" attract him the most "because there are layers and complications", but he's also happy spreading laughter through some of his works.
One of such projects will be "Ghoomketu", in which the National Award winning actor has a comic role to essay.
"I don't particularly enjoy portraying plain white characters or straight negative characters. I like challenging characters.
"My character in 'Kick' made people laugh. Even in 'Badlapur', there were chuckles among the audiences, but in my upcoming film 'Ghoomketu', I'll be seen in a typical comic role," Nawazuddin said.
He is particularly happy that "Badlapur", which also starred Varun Dhawan, Radhika Apte, Huma Qureshi and Yami Gautam, managed to pull in the audiences despite its release in the midst of the ICC cricket World Cup.
"I'm extremely happy about the success of 'Badlapur'. We were very nervous at first because the film had an 'A' certificate and the release was around the cricket World Cup. But when the film released, the response was overwhelming.
"Word of mouth worked wonders for the film. And now everyone is happy, from the producers to director to the actors," he said.
Promising a surprise for his fans in every film that he does, Nawazuddin also said it's difficult for him to take time out for his family.
"It's difficult to take time out from work and that's the reason my family members are somewhat miffed with me. My daughter and my wife aren't very happy about me not being able to spend much time with them.
"Just keep watching my films and I will surprise the audiences with every film; that's my promise," said the actor, whose film "Haraamkhor" is heading to the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA).
(Siddharth Jha can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)