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Will play Balasaheb as honestly as I did Manto, says Nawazuddin

Press Trust of India  |  Cannes 

Nawazuddin Siddiqui, the poster boy of Mumbai's independent cinema, is in this year with Nandita Das' Un certain regard entry "Manto", the actor's sixth in the world's festival in a span of seven years.

No has ever had as many films across various sections of the Festival. In 2012, two films featuring Siddiqui in pivotal roles Ashim Ahluwalia's "Miss Lovely" (Un Certain Regard) and Anurag Kashyap's "Gangs of Wasseypur" 1 & 2 (Directors Fortnight) played on the Croisette.

The following year, Nawazuddin went one better, appearing in three of the films in the official selection Amit Kumar's "Monsoon Shootout" (Out of Competition), "Talkies" (Special Screening), a portmanteau film directed by Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, and Anurag Kashyap, and Ritesh Batra's "The Lunchbox" (Critics Week).

"Manto", a biopic about a prolific Urdu who chronicled the horrors of Partition in stark, scalding ways, is the first film in which Siddiqui plays a real-life icon.

"In essaying this role, I had to be totally honest not as an but as a human being," the said in an interview following the premiere of "Manto" here on Sunday.

Right from the outset, Nawazuddin said, Nandita and he had decided that "everything about the portrayal of would have to be totally truthful." He added: "Of course, I had do internalize the man completely, then achieve the physical similarities and get the dialogue delivery right, but this performance had to go beyond the actor's craft."

"I loved the process. It was absolutely fascinating," Nawazuddin said. "I was worried initially whether I would be able to achieve what I needed to. So I threw myself unconditonally into the role during the three months that we shot the film. My job ended there. Now it is for the audience to respond. That is not in my control."

Ironically, Bollywood's big-screen "Manto" will be seen next impersonating the late supremo Balasaheb Thackeray, a figure on the opposite end the ideological spectrum. "I will play Thackeray with the same honesty with which I have sought to play Manto," said Nawazuddin.

"There is a lot that an actor can do with the character of Thackeray," says Nawazuddin. "He was an artist, a cartoonist, who gave up his calling to lead the Marathi manoos like no personality has ever had in any state."

The Thackeray movie, scheduled for release in early 2019, is produced by MP

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 14 2018. 18:25 IST