Born to humble farmers in Budhana, a small town and tehsil in Muzaffarnagar district of the Western part of Uttar Pradesh State of India, into a zamindari Muslim family of Numberdars, the eldest one of his eight siblings. He graduated with Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar. Nawazuddin Siddiqui first worked as a chemist in a petrochemical company in Vadodara. After a year, Siddiqui realized that there is no need to aim for success if you want it just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally. He wants to do something more interesting, he moved to Delhi to only be a watchman (Siddiqui: Maine socha bhukha marna hai toh Mumbai mein jaake marun). He developed an interest in theatre in Delhi and moved to Mumbai to try his luck in movies. However, like every struggler, he did not get any good job or any meaty role and kept appearing in small roles.
(Siddiqui:Pehli film mein ek minute ek second ka role mila, phir ek minute doh seconds, phir ek minute pachas seconds). He resorted to conducting acting workshops to earn some money.
Once in Delhi, he was instantly drawn into acting after watching a play, and in pursuit to secure admission at National School of Drama (NSD) in New Delhi, he acted in over ten plays with a group of friends, to fulfil one of the criteria for admission. Siddiqui went to the National School of Drama, New Delhi. After graduating from NSD, he moved to Mumbai. In 2004, which was one of the worst years of his struggle, he couldn’t pay any rent. He asked an NSD senior if he could stay with him. The senior allowed him to share his apartment in Goregaon if he was willing to cook meals for him.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui made his Bollywood debut in 1999, with a small role in Aamir Khan starrer, Sarfarosh. After that, he played a messenger in the movie Jungle; later he hung out at film studios and shootings but only got stereotypical roles. He shared screen along with Sunil Dutt and Sanjay Dutt in Munnabhai MBBS in the opening scenes where he tries to pick the pocket of Sunil Dutt. After moving to Mumbai he tried to get work in television serials, but did not achieve much success (Siddiqui:Tab ek episode ek hi din mein shoot karke channel ko bhejna padta tha. Par mere jaise actors ko lene se dedh din lag jata, kyunki zyada light lagana padta (laughs out loud).Tab toh gore gore actors ka trend tha.).
However, he got his break when he got noticed as a reporter in Peepli Live and there has been no looking back for him since then!
Siddiqui’s first lead role in a feature film was in Prashant Bhargava’s Patang, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, for which Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s performance has been praised by noted film critic Roger Ebert (awarding the film 4/4 stars) a role which ‘transformed his acting style’.
He appeared in four major films of 2012 – Kahaani (2012), Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 2 (2012) and Talaash (2012), all of which earned him wide critical reception and awards including Screen Award for Best Supporting Actor, Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Male both for his role as Taimur in Talaash: The Answer Lies Within as well as Stardust Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Gangs of Wasseypur.
Siddiqui was awarded the Special Jury Award at the 60th National Film Awards 2012, for his work in films, Kahaani, Gangs of Wasseypur, Dekh Indian Circus and Talaash.
(Siddiqui: koi lottery nahin lagi thi. Phir baad mein game samajh mein aya. Uss mein 12 saal lag gaya…)