“If either Anurag or I were a girl, we would have married each other,” actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui wrote about his relationship with filmmaker Anurag Kashyap in his autobiography. The two have fostered a close working relationship that began with Black Friday in 2004 and continued till the Netflix series Sacred Games. On Anurag’s birthday, here’s looking back at one of the best actor-director partnerships in the history of Hindi cinema.
Nawazuddin wrote that Anurag used to tease him by calling the actor his ‘item girl’. He wrote, “Sometime over the years, he began saying, ‘Tu toh meri item girl hai!’ (You’re my item girl!), and he continues to tease me thus, till today. ‘Badi zabardast shaadi hoti hamari!’ (We would have had a great marriage!) We keep clowning around, but seriously, if either one of us were a girl, we would have married each other. I am his muse, he says, and he is mine, I tell him.”
Nawaz’s performance in Anurag’s two-part gangster epic, Gangs of Wasseypur, cemented him as a name to be reckoned with. They collaborated once again in the serial killer thriller Raman Raghav 2.0, before Nawaz went on to deliver yet another memorable turn in Sacred Games.
“When Nawaz and I get bored of the collaboration, we will divorce each other. We already know what we have done together so we won’t repeat. If I have something new, I will go to Nawaz, otherwise I won’t,” Anurag told PTI in an interview ahead of Sacred Games. “If I am not adding anything new to Nawaz, then what’s the point? The whole industry takes one person and casts them the same way in every film. They take one hit music director and make him do the same thing for the rest of his life. They do the same with actors and I get very bored with that.”
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Anurag said that he has a ‘silent relationship’ with Nawaz. “We can even sit in a plane without talking for three hours straight,” he said on a talk show in 2013.
Both Anurag and Nawaz’s most recent films have been released on streaming. While Anurag directed a segment in Ghost Stories and the social satire Choked, Nawaz appeared in Ghoomketu (which featured Anurag in a rare acting appearance), Raat Akeli Hai, and will soon be seen in Serious Men.
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