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Interview Hindi

Manoj Bajpayee: Some characters travel with you for a very long time

Ahead of the release of the critically acclaimed festival film, Gali Guleiyan, actor Manoj Bajpayee spoke with us about inhabiting the complex character and picking the right scripts in his career.

Sonal Pandya

With six releases out in 2018, actor Manoj Bajpayee is on a roll. From Aiyaary’s principled Colonel Abhay Singh, earlier this year, to Gali Guleiyan’s lonely Khuddoos, Bajpayee has stretched his range as an actor.

In a conversation with us before the release of Gali Guleiyan, Bajpayee stressed the importance of the script when picking projects. “It’s always the script you choose and if the script is really good, then you look for the character,” he said, adding, “[Khuddoos] is the most complex and complicated character that I have ever seen, or ever done. It’s a very uniquely written script by [writer-director] Dipesh Jain.”

But Bajpayee denied that Jain wrote Khuddoos with him in mind.

“A scriptwriter writes a script about characters and then he starts thinking of the actors who can do justice. I think then he must have started thinking of me. But one thing I know, that this is such a complex, difficult character, that I never thought I would be able to pull it off and eventually [when] you pull it off, [you] know that you’ve done something magical. Something that nobody else has done before.”

The actor stated it was difficult to step into these kinds of characters who surpass the simple aspects of human beings. “They are dealing with the most darkest aspect of human life and mind. It is always difficult to get into it and also very difficult to come out [of it],” he said

He went on to say that he doesn’t connect with any of the characters he played in his career.

“I’m a different person, and each and every person is a product of their own upbringing. No character that I have done share the same upbringing [as mine]. I don’t connect with any characters of mine. I only connect with them as human beings,” the actor stressed.

But he did admit that the character he plays, in independent films, are demanding and therefore hard to leave back on set.

“It’s easier said than done. You can only leave a character on the set if you’re doing a mainstream film. In mainstream stories, they touch on the surface and they keep moving. So it’s easier to leave those characters on the set. It’s not easy to leave Khuddoos on the set and come home and go to your room. No, it’s not easy. Actually, these kind of  characters travel with you for a very long time.”

Bajpayee filmed the part for two years, and since 2016 then the film has travelled the world from South Korea to Australia at film festivals. The independent film will be released in theatres on 7 September 2018. He has been extremely happy with the audience and critical response from these festivals around the globe.

“[It’s been] 23 international film festivals and it’s still travelling. It’s still going to some of the major film festivals. The response has been overwhelming actually. This kind of a complicated character, [in] this kind of a unique and complex film has been lapped up by each and everybody, and juries all over the world loved it," he said.

The actor is not worried about the kinds of roles that are coming his way. He feels as long as he’s acting, he’s satisfied. Furthermore, he has never had any kind of dream role that he’d like to portray.

“I’m doing great roles, great films, even if they are two or one in a year, it’s satisfying when you do your job well,” he said.

After producing Missing (2018) earlier this year, Bajpayee will be one of five producers on next year’s Bhonsle (2019) directed by Devashish Makhija. Though he’s keen to back good stories, he’s not ruling out the director’s chair as yet.

“Who knows? Life is quite uncertain, you never know what you’re going to encounter on the turn. I’ve been in this industry since 24 years. Tomorrow you never know, if I find a script which is very interesting and it kind of forces me to direct, I don’t know,” he offered.

Meanwhile, the actor will also be seen in a web-series for the first time. Bajpayee is currently filming for Amazon’s original series, Family Man, directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK in which he plays National Intelligence Agency agent protecting the nation from terrorists and shielding his family from the true nature of his job.

“It’s quite exciting. It’s a new platform and the series are happening which are quite unique in their concept and the roles are quite out-of-the-box. They give you lot of liberty in doing things. There is no censor board. The scope for experimentation is quite high. It’s a great experience to be part of Family Man,” he shared.