Sacred Games star Nawazuddin Siddiqui on the cover of THE MAN

With Nawaz as the man on the cover of THE MAN, our interactions with him have been intense, and he is not shy of revealing his fears and complexities.

Sacred Games star Nawazuddin Siddiqui PICTURES: Prabhat Shetty; STYLING: Devraj Das; HAIR & MAKE UP: Sanah Kewal; LOCATION: Slink & Bardot, Worli, Mumbai

There are many rags to riches stories. Nawazuddin Siddiqui's is one, and he's in the news currently. The streaming date for Sacred Games 2 is approaching and conversations are centred around Ganesh Gaitonde and his evil ways. With Nawaz as the man on the cover of THE MAN, our interactions with him have been intense, and he is not shy of revealing his fears and complexities. That's what makes his story stand out from so many others. There is no inclination whatsoever to whitewash his past or 'lighten' his face for that matter. “Fairness creams failed me,” Nawaz told Sonali Velinker Kamat in an exclusive interview for THE MAN.

He is, or appears to be, bemused by the stratospheric levels of stardom and fandom he's achieved. His intense desire to act kept him on course until he broke into Bollywood's hallowed portals, or breached the glass ceiling, whichever analogy works best! Nawaz attributes a lot to his brother, Shamas, who manages him. Talk to the actor, who reprises the role of Ganesh Gaitone in the upcoming Season 2 on Netflix, about luxury cars, fashion, couture and the like, and he admits candidly that he knows little about it. He wears what the stylists want or what his brother gets for him.

What makes this one an unusual story is that despite coming from a poor family, and with such an ordinary face, Nawaz has become the talking point from college campuses and theatre critics to followers of mainstream Bollywood fare. Today, he straddles the world of films from commercial Bolly to the more serious or noir cinema. He took any role, big or small that came his way and played it so well that one forgot it was an actor enacting a role. “I live in the character and the character lives within me,” he explained. 

His average Joe looks were never in the way, and that meant he didn't look for 'hero' roles or stardom. Only an opportunity awaited. “I knew I was a good actor,” Nawaz said, “but I lacked confidence. I couldn’t walk into a room and present myself in a way that people would notice. I knew if someone gave me a chance, I would impress them.” 

And he has!

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