Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Tryst with Biopics and Cannes

One of the best actors of the current generation, Nawazuddin Siddiqui has many reasons to be excited this year. He is busy shooting for Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray’s biopic, Thackeray, that sees him portray one of Indian politics most controversial and revered figures. Known to get under the skin of the character, Nawaz looks every bit like the firebrand politician in the film’s teaser and posters.

Even as Thackeray builds up anticipation amongst viewers, Nawaz’s other biopic Manto has been selected for the prestigious Cannes International Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section. The film has been directed by Nandita Das and is among the 20 films that narrate unique stories in non-traditional ways. Manto will be in the August company of other notable films like Bi Gan’s Long Day’s Journey into Night, French-Morrocan director Meyem Benm’Barek’s Sofia, Andréa Bescond and Eric Metayer’s Little Tickles, and Ali Abbasi’s Border.

Manto tells the real-life story of author Saadat Hasan Manto and focuses on his career post the Partition. The film also stars Rasika Dugal, Rajshri Deshpande and Tahir Raj Bhasin in supporting roles. Nawaz will be heading to the French Riviera and will be present for the film’s screening and promotion on May 9 and 10.

Incidentally, this will be the actor’s fifth visit to the prestigious festival after his first outing in 2012 with Gangs of Wasseypur and Miss Lovely. Nawaz feels at home in Cannes and feels a great sense of pride in representing his films at one of the biggest and most acclaimed film festivals in the world. However, this year he may not get to spend a lot of time brushing shoulders with the best of cinema due to his prior commitment to the shooting of Thackrey. The actor hopes that a positive response to Manto at Cannes will create more buzz for the film back home.