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Kahaani actor gets Special Invitation From Roger Ebert, while his other film gets selected for Cannes

Nawazuddin Siddiqui
MUMBAI: Nawazuddin Siddiqui the fiery implosive actor who lately made a resounding impact as an intelligence officer in Kahaani,is going places.

One of America’s most avidly read film critics Roger Ebert has personally invited Nawazuddin to attend the Eberfest, Roger Ebert’s annual film festival in Illinois, Chicago.

The actor can’t believe he actually got a call from Roger Ebert.

“It took me  a while to realize the invitation came from THE Roger Ebert. My film Patangis the only Indian entry in Ebert’s festival .In fact I think it’s the only Indian film that has ever been shown at this festival. That he’s aware of my work is a big compliment.”

The actor who’s got a jampacked schedule ahead leaves for Chicago this week for the Ebertfest to be held from April 25-29.

Nawazuddin has just got to know that his starrer ‘Miss Lovely’ has been selected for the prestigious Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes film festival. He must now prepare for Cannes in May even as he leaves for Chicago this week.

And that is easier said than done. The unassuming actor from a small village in Uttar Pradesh is clueless about the clothes and the protocol in Chicago and Cannes. Nawazuddin intends to consult Aamir Khan, his co-star in Talaash, on the dos and don’ts in Cannes.

The actor who’s got a jam-packed year ahead, has just completed shooting for a road movie Liar, Dice with Malayalam actress-filmmaker geetu Mohandas and is ready to shoot his next film to be directed by Anurag Kashyap’s assistant Shlok Sharma. He’s also required extensively in India for the promotion of his next release Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs Of  Wasseypur where Nawazuddin plays the pivotal role.

In the Cannes entry ‘Miss Lovely’ directed by Ashim Ahluwalia, Nawazuddin is cast as a Bollywood filmmaker in the 1980s who makes cheesy horror films.

Says Nawazuddin, “Paresh Rawal recommended me for the role. The way Ashim shot the film is completely new. None of the actors was required to act. It was like we were shooting a documentary rather than  fiction.And now we’re taking the film to Cannes.It’s like a dream.”

Says the actor, “It’s frightening me. Because I’m not used to all this. I’m not even thinking of what I’ll wear or how I’ll behave in Cannes.At the moment Roger Ebert’s invitation hangs on my head. He’s such a powerful critic and to be representing the only Indian entry at his festival is a huge honour.”

Patang directed by Prashant Bhargava is set during the kite-flying festival in Ahmedabad. In fact one of Roger Ebert’s main interests in this lone Indian entry in his festival is the ritual of kite-flying.

Nawazuddin who specially learnt kite-flying for the film quips, “I think Roger Ebert is fascinated by the ritual. If in Chicago he asks me to go fly a kite,I’d happily do so.”

As for Cannes, a designer will be employed to do Nawazuddin’s clothes.Under Aamir Khan’s expert guidance Nawazuddin hopes to make an impression on international shores.

Says the actor, “It’s a jampacked year.The Ebertfest and Cannes are like sudden windfalls. I’ve waited for years for this phase in my career. I’ve been acting for 22 years.I never dreamt I’d be sharing my dreams with Roger Ebert.”