Manoj Bajpayee: It’s time to line up at the box office of democracy

Apr18,2024


Every few years we see a resurgence in Manoj Bajpayee's career. After completing 30 years in an industry that brings out a new hero every other week, Manoj is busier than ever. After enthralling the OTT audience Gulmohar and one person is enoughwith the festival circuit joram And fable, Making a comeback in the mainstream with Manoj brother Next month. Before then, he's exploring his preferred middle ground silence 2 On ZEE5.

,Listening increases knowledge, speaking harms it. (Listening makes you learn, speaking makes you proud),'' Manoj says during a freewheeling chat.

Edited excerpts…

Manoj Bajpayee

Manoj Bajpayee Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Does silence play an important role in your performances these days?

It may seem easy but remaining silent in front of the camera is the hardest thing in life. If an actor learns to stay quiet when the camera is on, it shows how confident and well prepared he is. As you advance in your art, you learn to use silence. Although this is not a new aspect of my acting, I still used cage And colic Expressing the guilt and pain of the character is coming out even more beautifully these days. I think you start maturing as an actor after 40. Acting has a direct relationship with your growth as a person.

Is one character's silence different from another's?

It depends on how you approach characterization. Dasru's silence inside joram Professor Siras's silence is different from Aligarh. He is an educated man who is forced to remain silent. Dasru comes from a marginalized section which is completely uncertain and bewildered. I find Professor Siras' silence much more deafening to the audience. God' (alleyways) is more troubled in silence. His mind is disorganized. What you see on the outside is not exactly what is going on in his mind.

How do you get psychological complexity right in a visual medium?

It is a struggle. I always say your eyes don't lie. If you're not working on character, if you're not that character, your eyes will show. The camera is a very intelligent device. It catches you.

Have you solved the riddle of how long should one stay in character?

Now I don't want to solve the puzzle. When I have given so much physical and mental time to the character, it stays with me. The only way you can put it aside is to prepare yourself for the next one. After doing various serious roles, my mind does not get disturbed. Spiritual practices give me clarity. ,

Does it affect family life?

Yes, when you are performing you are somewhere else, even if you are with your family. I think I have improved a lot because of my discipline. After doing so many intense and immersive roles, you also feel tired. You are afraid of going into a dark hole while going through difficult exercises; But then, you go back to it because it's a job that appeals to you. Every time I decide not to do it, another one comes to me. As long as you have hunger inside you, you cannot go away from it.

From Shekhar Kapoor and Ram Gopal Varma to Ram Reddy, you have come a long way…

Ram Gopal Varma and Ram Reddy are 180 degrees different but both are true to their times. People will be completely impressed by Rama Reddy's art. His vision and definition of cinema is mesmerizing. It is very important for me to surrender to the new age directors. They are products of time. His performance is different, and his way of looking at cinema is different. I don't have the arrogance that the youth in front of me knows less than me. When I surrender myself to them, they use my art. This is a selfish move!

Tell us about Bhaiyaji which you have also co-produced. Was there a desire for mass entertainment?

thoughts of brother Was with me for some time. I was looking for a writer who could write a middle-of-the-road film for me, but director Apoorva Singh Karki was keen on making a mainstream film on it. He likes Tamil and Telugu films and wants to give his opinion on this genre. I found the style a bit larger than life and offered to speak to another actor for him. But he was adamant on casting me. I wasn't sure how he would show me but he did.

Do you see any difference in the representation of mainstream heroes in Hindi cinema?

Heroes in mainstream films should be connected to their culture. The treatment can be larger than life but the story and characterization must be rooted. That's exactly what we tried. This used to happen during the time of Shri (Amitabh) Bachchan, in his films and in the films of Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha. Gradually, as we moved towards more ambitious subjects, the heroes kept changing. Now we are going back to the roots and the South is showing us the way.

Why did you feel the need to formally turn to production?

It takes me a long time to say yes to projects. Over the past decade, I've been asking young filmmakers whose work I admire to write roles for me. Same thing happened with me Devashish Makhija, Rahul Chittela and Apoorva. So, Neha, my wife and I thought that while we are figuring out the content and director, why not do it under our production?

Do you wish such diversity had come to you a decade ago?

It's not about wishing. In those days I probably would not have done this. I am experimenting a lot with my directors now. I'm changing styles a lot these days. I think it's high time I completed 100 films.

Before Bihar elections in 2020 you released Kaaba in Bombay Which started the trend of political commentary through Bhojpuri rap. Are you playing for one this time?

It was like a social statement on migration and immigrants that has been happening for decades. There is no plan this time but I am motivating people to vote through public service advertisements. I think both cinema and democracy work according to the preferences of the people. It is time to line up at the box office of democracy to choose the candidate or party that you think is good for the country.

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