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Nawazuddin Siddiqui: ‘Ironic that no producer backs small films’

Updated on: 14 June,2024 07:15 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Priyanka Sharma |

Nawaz, who fronts the small-sized Rautu Ka Raaz, calls out industry’s hypocrisy as it celebrates Payal Kapadia’s Cannes win while not supporting indie filmmakers

Nawazuddin Siddiqui: ‘Ironic that no producer backs small films’

Nawazuddin Siddiqui

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Nawazuddin Siddiqui: ‘Ironic that no producer backs small films’

Only a few years ago, Nawazuddin Siddiqui played a cop investigating a murder in Raat Akeli Hai (2020). For Rautu Ka Raaz, the actor dons the khaki uniform again and probes a murder case. What drew him to a cop character again? His character’s inner world. “This man suffers from PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] after he loses the woman he loves. But the investigation helps him fill the void in his life,” he elaborates.

Teaming up with director Anand Surapur, who previously directed The Fakir of Venice (2019), was another incentive to front the upcoming ZEE5 film. In his 25-year career, Siddiqui has repeatedly worked with filmmakers who tell unconventional stories—from Anurag Kashyap to Ritesh Batra, from Honey Trehan to Nandita Das. What ties them together, he says, is the desire to make honest films. “If an honest film is made, we will be honoured across the world like Payal Kapadia was. She made a film about what spoke to her. There is hope for cinema till there are people like Anurag Kashyap and her.”

Payal Kapadia (in black) with her film’s castPayal Kapadia (in black) with her film’s cast

While the industry cheered Kapadia’s Grand Prix win at the 77th Cannes Film Festival for All We Imagine As Light, Kashyap recently remarked that the victory is entirely her own because India doesn’t support independent filmmakers. As an actor who often headlines small-size movies, Siddiqui seconds Kashyap’s opinion. “This is a huge irony. Not a single producer backs small films. There are many filmmakers who are capable of doing some great work, but they never get support. Our country is running after fake cinema. We show people blowing up ships and planes. Kids should be entertained by this. Why are [adults] enjoying it? Small filmmakers come to me [for support], and I do as much as I can. Nobody puts money on these films. If these films get made, I know they will get accolades around the world. But producers say, ‘Sir, this doesn’t have drama or songs.’”

Lately, small-budget offerings like Madgaon Express and Munjya have made noise at the box office. The actor makes a strong case for them, stating, “What do you get from big-budget films? If we support smaller films, even the biggest movies will pale in front of them.”

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