Nawazuddin Siddiqui‘s memoir is called An Ordinary Life. Well, ironic as it may sound, but the fact remains that the book by itself turns out to be really ordinary. That’s right, one expected so much from the book, especially so since Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s life has gone through quite a few trials and tribulations, as you have heard over the years. However, as it turns out, the book – if you have to put it mildly – turns out to be a bore. Though author Rituparna Chatterjee tries to spice up the affair at many junctions, the fact also remains that the book by a large turns out to be quite an unexciting experience.
One of the key reasons for that is that entire first hundred pages of the book are dedicated to the past life and times of the Nawazuddin. Now even that would have been okay had the actor been around for a two or three decades, as was the case with Naseeruddin Shah‘s memoir that was released sometime back. As an actor when you have spent quite some time in front of the camera and then there is a past life of yours to be told as well, you can still expect quite a few anecdotes, stories and tales from the life that you have lived.
In case of Nawazuddin it seems a little odd because though the actor has been brilliant in front of the camera for most of the times, he has been making his presence felt in the industry for only about a decade now. Before that of he had decade of struggle. Even that would have made for an exciting read, as it does turn out in the second half of the book. However the fact that there are chapters and chapters dedicated to his childhood where everything from his own self to his brothers to his parents to his uncles to his many crushes during the school and college days are narrated don’t really hold much attention.
A major reason for that is also the manner in which Rituparna blends these stories together that just don’t engage you as much as you would have possibly bargained for. In fact the very start itself doesn’t really hold much attention as the whole episode around ‘pehelwani’ to flying kites to the miseries that he had his family had to go through during the childhood days to the struggles become a tad overwhelming after a while and you do look forward to certain respite.
Agreed that his life had been a bed of thorns till about 10 years back but then even that may have made for an interesting read had it been told in an exciting manner. Well, that doesn’t really happen and this is when one ends up remembering Rajinikanth‘s biography that stays on to be a benchmark in this genre. On the other hand An Ordinary Life falls short of being truly engaging because despite all the memorable on-screen performances that the actor has come up with, the volume still needs to be there to be seen.
This is what brings me to another aspect of the book, which is about the love life of Nawazuddin. To be honest, the passages from the book that have already been circulating across the media are really just to spice up interest amongst readers because honestly these three or four anecdotes are the only portions that to hold your interest for a little while. Moreover, the detailing too is only as much as you have already read and hence beyond that there really isn’t much out there in the book which is eye popping. Yes, something new that you get to read in the book is about the failed marriage that Nawazuddin suffered, the divorce proceedings that followed and then his remarriage.
In between, he does name quite a few other actors on the industry along with whom he struggled during his earlier days, be it Vijay Raaz, Rajpal Yadav or the actor Mukesh Bhatt. There are quite a few bitter-sweet that he tells about these times. This is when you also sense that inside him there is a bit of bitterness that still exists due to his struggling days and in a way that also brings the humane side of him. What also turns out to be an interesting is the manner in which he narrates stepping into NSD, graduating, doing street plays, being an extra in the crowd, doing small roles and then finally finding his bearing.
The actor also shares a bit of ‘gyaan’ around how he perceives acting versus how he sees things around him. He does make for a few valid points but then you expect to go a little deeper into the kind of psyche that he has been going through ever since he turned out to be a popular actor. As said earlier, what really restricts him is the fact that he still needs to demonstrate a much larger body of work that would allow him many more tales to be narrated. Perhaps 10 years down the line when he would have actually accumulated a lot more experience, a proper biography could well be in order that goes beyond An Ordinary Life.
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