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    Taking a break from his signature dark roles, Nawazuddin Siddiqui is loving his romantic avatar.

    After versatile performances in Raman Raghav 2.0 and Te3n, actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui is a happy-go-lucky romantic this time, in his upcoming film, Freaky Ali. The Mumbai-based actor has a busy year ahead with projects which include- Munna Michael with Tiger Shroff, Manto, a biopic based on the life and works of writer and playwright Saadat Hasan Manto and Ritesh Batra’s next- Photographer, later this year. The 42-year-old speaks to us about his transformation as a romantic hero, his take on experimental cinema and the obsession with Hollywood.
    For Raman Raghav, I stayed alone, to get into his mindset. I had to empty myself before taking up something new. Every character we play lies inside us. As much as you give it, it will take something from you as well. Ali is a lot lighter. He is spontaneous and that innocence didn’t require much work but it was a lot of fun. I want to stick to romantic flicks for a while.
    The reach of experimental films needs to expand. You have these movies that go to festivals. I think they need to run at the box office as well. For people to change their perspective, it needs to be made available to them first. As far as direction is concerned, I am a horse that knows only how to run— acting is as far as I’ll go.
    I am getting the kind of work I want to get right here. Why do I need to look beyond? I don’t take this ‘Hollywood pressure’ that a lot of people take.
    Freaky Ali releases on September 9

    — Lavanya Lakshminarayanan

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