He has shared screen space with Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan, but actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui says he is not intimidated by their stardom when he is shooting with them.
The 41-year-old 'Gangs of Wasseypur' actor, who recently starred with Salman in 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan', Aamir in 'Talaash' and will be seen opposite Shah Rukh in 'Raees', treats the Khans as his co-actors and not stars.
"The fear of acting in front of a big celebrity will corrupt you. When you are filming a scene, be it Shah Rukh, Salman or Aamir, they are your co-actors first. It is the character they are portraying which is in front of you and not the star.
"If I think there is a 'star' in front of me and not the 'character' they are playing, then I am disrespecting them. If I have to respect them, then I have to first respect the characters they are playing," Nawazuddin told PTI.
He has dabbled with both, commercial films like 'Kick' and off-beat movies like 'The Lunchbox', and Siddiqui believes it is this 'shock' value which he wants to give to his fans. "My fans know that I try to attempt variety of roles. To shock them in every film is very necessary for an actor. A hero might follow the same template in every film but for an actor it is very important to shock viewers and make them think, 'He can do this too?'".
'Manjhi- The Mountain Man' star credits the current phase of Indian cinema for giving him the leg room to experiment with different genres of films and take variety of roles.
"I didn't come with a mindset to change the perception of a hero. Audience today have an option to watch the kind of films they feel like watching. This is the time when the line between commercial and off-beat cinema is blurring and films are being experimented.
"I am making the best use of this time and doing variety of roles. Be it 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan', 'Raees' or 'Manjhi'. I am experimenting because it is the best phase to do so." The actor will be seen sharing screen space for the first time with Shah Rukh in his forthcoming film 'Raees' and Siddiqui says the movie will surprise audience.
"It is a very different film. Shah Rukh has experimented in the movie and he will surprise fans. He has worked really hard for the role. Rahul Dholakia, who is the director, has a very different style of thinking and filmmaking.
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