Manoj Bajpayee- We have lost our way, if we have to bring people to the theatre, we will have to show their stories and heroes.

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
7 Min Read

Three decade long career in Bollywood, three National Awards and 100 films, such a wonderful journey would be no less than a beautiful dream for any artist, but Manoj Bajpayee, one of the best actors in the industry, has turned this dream into reality. . We had a special conversation with Manoj Bajpayee, who will be seen on screen in a different avatar in his 100th film 'Bhaiya Ji':

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Three decades long successful career in Bollywood, three National Awards and 100th film, how do you see your journey? And how satisfied are you with it?

I always feel satisfied because satisfaction comes from your work and the kind of films I chose, the films I worked in, there are very few that I miss. Otherwise most of the films were very good, it didn't matter whether they worked or not. The work has been done very honestly and many of these films have gone a long way. This is a big thing for me too, because I never had such a big dream of doing 100 films and playing lead roles. We had only one dream to become a good actor and earn a living as an actor. This is a very unique incident for me. I can't believe I've come this far.

You dreamt of becoming an actor after watching mainstream films like Amitabh Bachchan's 'Zanjeer'. Then how did you get inclined towards content cinema?

I have always seen cinema as a medium of art. I never considered it just a medium of entertainment. For me the story is paramount. The job of art is to touch your sensibilities, to teach you something, to give you a new outlook towards life, hence the choice of my films has also been like this. After becoming a professional actor, it never occurred to me to be a part of the films that I watched as entertainment in my childhood. When I was very young, sometimes such a thought would come and because of my face and height, people would already tell me that you are not fit for this and in our industry, people did not even hesitate in saying this. It doesn't take even a minute for them to call you ugly. They will say, man, you are not a traditional looking man. It means you are ugly. (laughing)

Photo: YouTube Video Grab

It is a strange tradition in Bollywood that here the hero and actor are different…

The thinking here has been different. Actually, our mainstream cinema follows a pattern. It sees a formula and follows it. It does not know how to move away from it. You are not welcome in it because they have been making films with a certain kind of hero, a certain kind of heroine and a certain kind of decoration. I can say with confidence that if I had taken a film like 'Bhaiya Ji' to any other producer, he would never have made it with me. Our director Apoorv Singh Karki said that I only want Manoj Bajpayee. Whereas, I knew that I would not find any other producer. Even if he finds one, he will scare us and try to invest less money, which will affect the film. So my wife said that you produce it yourself. We had so much faith in the story that we gave such a big shape to the film in a limited budget, which was not possible in the industry. You have to take your faith forward, but here mainstream producers are not ready to take even the slightest risk.


A little 'Pushpa' style is also visible in 'Bhaiya Ji'. What is the thinking behind this?

It would be wrong to call it 'Pushpa', such films have always been made in Telugu and Tamil. We also used to make such films. We stopped making those films. We stopped bringing our culture, our relationships, our heroes, our people in our films. Today people put action first and tell the story later. Put the song first, tell the story later. In our film it is the opposite. Story is paramount in our film. After that action or other things happen. Rest, we have to tell the story of our heartland, you cannot run away from it. If we want to bring people to the theatre, we have to show their stories and their heroes. Now that time has come and the biggest proof of this is South Indian films. His hero walks wearing a lungi. It comes from our own soil, our own culture. We used to make such films long ago. We have shown this path to everyone and we ourselves have deviated from that path.

The shooting of your series 'Family Man' has also started. If you are so busy, how much are you able to play the role of a family man in your personal life?

It has been only four-five years since I started working. When there was no OTT, I had very little good work. Since I was looking for good, unique work, I was sitting idle for a long time. Today there is a lot of work due to OTT, so I am very busy for the next two years, but when work is being found, then why cry? This is a good problem, which both me and my family are enjoying. Otherwise I take out time for my wife and daughter.

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