Easily one of the most sought-after actors and a luminary with a classic rags-to-riches story, birthday boy Nawazuddin Siddiqui has come a long way. From a chemist and a watchman to one of the foremost acting talents in India, his story is no less than a Bollywood film story itself. Evidently, the path to being one of the most admired actors is difficult, and with his unconventional persona, it took him 12 years with tribulations aplenty before striking gold. Not many people know that he has been a part of around 20 movies before the Gangs of Wasseypur films. Small or just considerable, Siddiqui did everything like he was the focus of the camera. A lot can be said and written about him, so on his birthday, let’s take a look at some of his film appearances before the GOW series, that most of us have blinked and missed.


Marking his debut in Bollywood, this small one-minute appearance as “Criminal 1” paid him INR 500. Later, while working on Talaash, Aamir Khan was left surprised when Nawaz told him about being present in Sarfarosh.


His next film in the same year as Sarfarosh, starring Manoj Bajpayee and Raveena Tandon. He played the role of a waiter.

Munna Bhai MBBS

Remember that pickpocket who steals Babuji’s wallet and is taken to Munna’s hospital? Yes, it was Nawazuddin Siddiqui!

The Bypass

A short film that bagged many national and international awards also starred Nawazuddin as one of the Bandits.

Ek Chaalis Ki Last Local

In the Abhay Deol and Neha Dhupia starrer, he played a minute role as a roadside charsi.

Manorama Six Feet Under

The story of the amateur detective played by Abhay Deol also had Nawazuddin in it. He played a local goon who carried off some flashy shades in the desert with utmost perfection. (Milestone: His back made it to the trailer of the movie!)

Black Friday

The major turning point in his life was the film Black Friday, where he did the role of Asgar Mukadam, one of the men involved in the blast, for director Anurag Kashyap. The scene where he is interrogated by Kay Kay Menon is a must-watch.



Based on the after-effects of the Gujarat riots, the political thriller stars legendary actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Deepti Naval and Paresh Rawal. Nawazuddin plays the role of Hanif, a victim of the violence.

New York

This multi-starrer set around the 9/11 attack with actors like John Abraham, Katrina Kaif, Irrfan Khan and Neil Nitin Mukesh had Nawazuddin steal the attention in his mere two-minute presence as Zilgai, a 9/11 detainee, trying to overcome the experience. He was set in the mind of Kabir Khan because of this scene and they later worked together in Bajrangi Bhaijaan.

Dev D

If one doesn’t know Emotional Atyachaar, then it means that person has a black-and-white life and has never attended a wedding! One of the singers in the song was none other than our own Nawaz (here is where his cameos started).

There are many more movies that had Nawazuddin Siddiqui in blink-and-miss appearances like Jungle, Family, and Aaja Nachle. What is fascinating here is that these small and negligible roles are now considered as cameos, and have made everyone watch these movies just to see his parts. Nawazuddin is now one of the most sought-after actors in the industry. His movies are highly anticipated and everyone looks forward to them. Bollywood is truly blessed to have an artist like him!