Nawazuddin Siddiqui was often dubbed as Irrfan Khan’s competitor, even though the latter was much more senior and experienced in the Hindi film industry.
Upon Irrfan’s tragic demise, Nawazuddin was left as shocked as everyone else around the world.
Opening up about his emotions, Nawazuddin recently disclosed that it took some time for him to absorb and come to terms with the devastating news.
The actor also said how, contrary to popular belief, it was Irrfan who took Nawazuddin into Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle.
“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. It was an hour long film that he’d made for the BBC. He didn’t direct much after that but had he done that, he would be as successful a filmmaker as he was as an actor,” Nawaz said.
“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’ [Do you want to come?] He told me to reach Sun-n-Sand hotel in Juhu. I remember we landed there in the morning and waited in the lobby. He met Boyle and then asked me to go meet him up too.
It was thus 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 [No one can take his place]. There’s no one like him,” Nawaz concluded.
Speaking about Irrfan’s exceptional acting skills, Nawaz said, “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. Irrfan was also unpredictable as an actor. You couldn’t gauge how he will react to a situation in a particular scene and that for me was terrific.”