Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui Image Credit: Archives

Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s 46th birthday celebrations on May 19 took a macabre twist as his wife Aaliya, who filed for divorce, levelled allegations of "mental and physical torture" against the actor and his family.

Aaliya described her 11-year marriage with the star as a “bad dream”.

“My self-respect was gradually being eroded… He had never raised his hands on me, but the shouting and arguments had become unbearable… His family has mentally and physically tortured me a lot. His brother had even hit me… I have been bearing a lot for many years,” claimed Aaliya in an interview with web portal Bollywood Life.

Mumbai: Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui during the 61st Britannia Filmfare Awards in Mumbai on January 15, 2016. Image Credit: IANS

Siddiqui’s publicist declined to comment on the allegations against the actor and his family when Gulf News reached out to his team in Mumbai.

It’s Siddiqui’s second marriage, and according to reports, it was her two-month lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic that prompted her to examine the cracks in their troubled relationship.

Siddiqui is currently doing press interactions in India for his new web film ‘Ghooketu’, out on Zee5 on Friday, May 23, in which he plays a struggling writer from Bollywood. A press conference over Zoom, along with international media, was hastily cancelled.

Aaliya’s allegations are a follow-up to the legal-notice demanding a divorce that she had sent to the actor through her lawyers on May 7. She is also seeking sole custody of their two kids, Shora and Yani.

“What’s the point if you can’t respect your wife and kids? Our kids don’t even remember when their father last visited them. It has been three or four months since he’s met his kids, but he doesn’t care, so even the kids have become used to it and don’t even ask about him,” said Aaliya in the same interview.

Siddiqui and Aaliya, who knew each other before marriage, fell in love when they were young and re-united again when Siddiqui divorced his first wife.

His wife has also accused him of having multiple affairs during their marriage and claims she kept silent about his transgressions because of his need to maintain a good ‘public image’. Following her decision to start legal divorce proceedings against her husband, Aaliya has also gone back to her old name Anjana Kishor Pandey. She had converted to Islam when she decided to marry Siddiqui.

Siddiqui, who has acted in movies including ‘The Lunchbox’ and web series ‘Sacred Games’, is a self-made actor. While he is yet to comment on the allegations made against him and his family, he tweeted yesterday that a personal tragedy in his family had triggered anxiety attacks in his mother. He was in his hometown Budhana in Uttar Pradesh during the lockdown period in India.

“Due to the recent loss of my younger sister, my mother who is 71 years old got anxiety attack twice. We have followed all the guidelines given by the state government. We are home quarantined at our hometown Budhana,” said Siddiqui urging his fans to remain home and safe.

It’s not the first time that their marriage has been rocked by scandal. In March 2018, Siddiqui was embroiled in the Call Detail Records Scam that suggested that he was spying on his wife. But Aaliya defended her husband back then in a lengthy Facebook post claiming that her actor-husband was being made a soft target and that their love affair was more than 15 years old and that they fell in love when he was a nobody.