Nawazuddin Siddiqui: Bollywood’s Salvage Man

Pop Culture

Nawazuddin Siddiqui: Bollywood’s Salvage Man

Illustration: Sushant Ahire


f late, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, the actor single-handedly responsible for giving a face to a small-town Everyman of varying degrees of ruthlessness, has been frequently filling in a void experienced by commercial films. These are high-budget star vehicles with very little actual acting quotient, in desperate need of salvaging. And Nawaz is their knight in shining armour. It’s a skill that the actor has mastered in effortless Siddiqui fashion, and has now become a failsafe tactic for mainstream filmmakers.

In his latest film, Monsoon Shootout, a noir thriller set in the dangerous underbelly of Mumbai, Nawaz plays Shiva, a dangerous hitman, whose reputation has ensured that a constable (Vijay Verma, in what was supposed to be his debut) is assigned to apprehend him. As Shiva, Nawaz sinks his teeth into transforming into a menacing, heartless monster with hardly any effort, becoming a human embodiment of evil. Granted, it’s a role Nawaz is habituated to playing on screen, but even then, he brings surprisingly little nuances to his silent Shiva that makes the character stand out from the actor’s other portrayals.