Nawazuddin Siddiqui, often compared to the late Irrfan Khan who passed away on Wednesday, has finally shared his feelings on his passing.
While it took a while for the news to sink in, Nawaz has opened up about the camaraderie the two shared for more than a decade. In an emotional walk down memory lane with Times of India, Nawaz revealed how Irrfan was a mentor to him and in a completely different league.
"Not many know that it was Irrfan who first directed me as an actor in a film called Alvida in 2000. It was my first film as a lead actor and his as a director. It was his idea to cast me in that film," said Nawaz, adding that had he directed more after this, he would be just as successful of a director as he was an actor.
He also reminisced how Irrfan was the one who called him up to audition for Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire. "When Irrfan got to know that Danny Boyle was casting for Slumdog Millionaire (2008) in Mumbai, he called me up and asked me, ‘Tu chalega?’ (Will you come?)"
Stories about the two being at odds often did rounds, but Nawaz dispelled this narrative. "It was odd to hear stories of our alleged tiff. Irrfan recommended me for films. How can I be his competitor or rival! Irrfan ki jagah koi nahi le sakta (Nobody can take his place). There’s no one like him," he said.
Nawaz also talked about Irrfan's life beyond the camera and the big-screen, sharing how he enjoyed cooking food himself and loved holi celebrations.
Talking about his often-talked-about 'unconventional' looks, Nawaz said how he, along with many other around the world, found Irrfan good-looking.
"A lot of people ask me if Irrfan paved the way for actors who are talented but not conventionally good looking. Irrfan to me was good looking. Ask any outsider... foreign actor, fan or journalist and they’ll also describe Irrfan as good looking."
He also heaped praises on Irrfan's acting prowess, which has been lauded across the globe over the years. "As an actor, I was in awe of how casual and effortless he was on camera. I watched him closely in a silent short film we did together called The Bypass. His eyes spoke volumes. He didn’t need dialogues to express himself and that’s a mark of a great actor."
Nawaz and Irrfan were seen together in 2013's BAFTA nominated The Lunchbox, however, the two have shared the screen many other times. "We did a silent short film called The Bypass (2003), New York (2009) and a film called Meridian Lines (2013), which didn’t release. I was also his costar cum behind the scenes person in Irrfan Auditions for a Hollywood Film Role (2006), a short film. I used to give him cues from behind the camera," shared Nawaz.
Recalling a scene while shooting New York, Nawaz shared how Irrfan had helped him get the confidence to jump off a building when he developed cold feet just before the shot. "He gave me confidence, not just during that scene but in my career as well."
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