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“I grew up in a small town in UP. I come from a family of farm workers; we were 11 people–my parents & my 9 siblings. I was the oldest, so it fell upon me to take care of them. I made them follow a time table & do their homework. If they were mischievous I’d shout at them–of course, I was the naughtiest! In fact during Diwali, my friends & I would steal diyas! Our family would watch Ram Leela together–my first encounter with acting. My friend played Ram & seeing him left me starstruck! I imagined playing the role myself! After college, I worked in Baroda. There, I watched a play for the first time & the thought of being an actor became a dream. So I went where everybody with a dream of acting goes–Bombay. My parents, who were uneducated, supported me. They said I could do anything as long as I worked hard. My first impression of Bombay was how fast it was. It took me a month to get used to the pace of life–I thought I’d never be able to match up! But slowly I joined the rat race. I wasn’t well off. I’d borrow money from friends, saying I’d return it in 2 days. Two days later, I’d borrow money from someone else and pay the first person back. I lived in a flat with 4 people–it was about survival. But my family had my back. They told me to not give up! My mom didn’t have a mobile, so she’d send me letters & they got me through some really tough times. She’d tell me not to worry & remind me that I was only human & doing my best. So that’s what I did. I did odd jobs–as a watchman, or a coriander seller. I went for a 100 auditions & took every role I got, no matter how small. It took 12 years to get a ‘breakthrough’. It wasn’t easy–the struggle wasn’t beautiful, it was just a struggle. But I did it. I went from a tiny role in Munnabhai to winning a Filmfare for Lunchbox. I went from being unrecognised in Sarfarosh to being known as Ganesh Gaitonde across the nation. I went from being a watchman to becoming the ‘watch me’ man & I’m nowhere near being done, so keep watching–I’m here to stay!” ---- HoB with the makers of #PhotographMovie bring to you the story of Nawazuddin Siddiqui; an ordinary man with an extraordinary journey.
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“I was that kid who danced at every wedding. I didn’t need any kind of incentive–just music! My parents would take me to all the family weddings, because they knew I’d dance my heart out. I loved it so much! I even danced in competitions & when I got to college I was a part of the Choreography Society. We’d spend 8 hours dancing every day! I was so passionate–but my real dream was to act. I never revealed this to anyone back home. I thought I’d be laughed at or ridiculed. After all, it’s a big dream. But I thought maybe, I could get to acting through dancing! So I applied for Dance India Dance & got to the top 100. But I got rejected because my backstory wasn’t strong. That’s when I thought maybe I wasn’t meant to perform at all. That show may have rejected me, but it’s what got me to Bombay. I owed it to myself to at least try. So I told my dad about acting. To my surprise, he was supportive! So I began auditioning. But it was hard–I lived with 6 roommates & there were days when they’d all go out to work & I’d be sitting at home. It was demotivating & I often felt like leaving. But I reminded myself of my dream to perform. Slowly, I learnt the ropes of the business, got in touch with casting directors & acted in ads. There were still months when I didn’t get a call back, & I worried about my dwindling bank balance. But I kept going & ended up doing 10 ads in a year! I built my self-esteem & promised to never doubt myself. Eventually, I got my first audition–Dangal! I remember, I was against 30 other girls, but I just knew I’d be selected. Someone was taking a BTS video & I remember telling her, ‘I’m pakka in this film!’ I was that confident! And I got the role! I’ll never forget that feeling that everything had finally been worth it. I’d loved performing ever since I was a kid & now here I was–on the big screen. Ever since, I’ve relished every single role I’ve done. While I don’t doubt myself anymore, I know I’m still learning. Nobody’s perfect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try! This is just the beginning, there’s much more to do. But I’ve got my dancing shoes & boxing gloves on–I’m ready!” #PhotographMovie