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Interview Hindi

I am an actor because of Manoj Bajpayee: Rajkummar Rao

Wishing Bajpayee on his 49th birthday, Rajkummar Rao spoke of how the actor had inspired him during his theatre days in Delhi.

Rajkummar Rao and Manoj Bajpayee in Aligarh

Suparna Thombare

Actor Rajkummar Rao has been a huge admirer of Manoj Bajpayee long before the two collaborated on the films Chittagong (2012) and Aligarh (2016).

Speaking exclusively to Cinestaan.com on Bajpayee's 49th birthday, Rajkummar Rao was all praise for his co-star, going so far as to say that Bajpayee was the reason for him becoming an actor.

"Manoj sir is actually one of the finest actors we have in our industry," Rao said. "I am an actor because of him. I was very inspired by seeing him in Satya (1998) and Shool (1999) when I was still in school. Then I worked with him in Aligarh (2016) and before that in Chittagong (2012), which was our first time working together."

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The two have developed a great friendship off screen too after creating magic together in the acclaimed Aligarh, where Bajpayee played an ostracized gay teacher and Rao a sympathetic journalist who fights for him.

"He is such an amazing human being. He is so grounded. And now of course, he is a dear friend. We have a lot of fun together. We laugh on stupid things," he said.

But before Rajkummar Rao got the opportunity to work with Bajpayee, he had already heard a lot about his hard work. The actor said stories about Bajpayee inspired and motivated him to do his best during his theatre days in Delhi.

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"He is so hardworking. When I was doing theatre in Delhi I used to hear stories about how hardworking Manoj Bajpayee was when he was doing theatre in Delhi. He would wake up at 4am and do his voice exercises and physical exercises.

"And that’s there till date. I saw him during Aligarh; he used to rehearse so much, especially if he had a monologue or important scene. The dedication is still very much there. And that’s what makes him who he is," said Rajkummar Rao.

"Happy birthday to Manoj sir and we love you a lot," he said.