Manoj Bajpayee: Traversing The Mind Of a True Actor

Manoj Bajpayee: Traversing The Mind Of a True Actor

by March 31, 2018 0 comments

Disliking to feel proud about his past success, Manoj Bajpayee believes that he is his works worst critic, says Kritika Dua

Actor Manoj Bajpayee feels that he has been able to deliver versatile performances only because he is able to self-assess and is himself his worst critic. And he has a smooth ability to to get along with anybody, a facet that has helped him in building crew chemistry, which is absolutely essential in making a good film.

A psychological thriller that is bound to shock and stun the audience, Missing revolves around a couple on a vacation in Mauritius but things soon start going downhill when their three-year-old daughter Titli goes missing. The film is backed by the powerhouse talent of Manoj Bajpayee and Tabu who are getting into the shoes of a couple, Mr and Mrs Dubey and is catching eyeballs owing to the promising trailer. Bajpayee who is confident about his latest release exclaimed, “The response we are getting for the trailer is quite breathtaking. We thought that we would definitely generate a little bit of curiosity but the manner people responded to it is quite overwhelming.”

Bajpayee has known Tabu for around two decades now but surprisingly he is collaborating with her for the third time, having worked earlier in Dil pe mat le yaar and Ghaat. The intense actor gave us an insight into the warm equation the duo shares. “In these 18 years, our bond has become quite strong, and it is becoming stronger with each passing day. Over time, we have become the best of buddies. We  treat each other with a lot of respect and affection. So definitely, when two friends are working on a film, it turns into a fun shoot.”

He doesn’t sign a film based on the genre, something which he didn’t happen to try before but according to the script and if it excites the artist within him. “I think that genre is one thing, but at the end of the day, the script is fantastic and it is experimenting a lot with the psychological thriller space. I believe that if the co-actors are of high caliber then the work becomes quite challenging but also pleasant. And when you get along with your co-actors and the unit, the filmmaking process becomes quite an experience.”

Bajpayee divulged details about the shooting experience amidst the serene locales of Mauritius which came with its own share of issues. “There were a lot of difficult days since we were shooting in Mauritius and it was completely away from our comfort zone. There were times when we wanted something and were finding it difficult to organise but there was line producer and local people to help us out with the rarest of the requirements of the different departments.”

When asked if Bajpayee is critical of his work and how does he look back at his performances. “I think I am the worst critic of my own work, which is why I don’t like to bask in the glory of the past success because then I come across scenes that I think I could do in a different manner. So there is always a learning from the work that I do at this point of time in my career, and for that reason, I hate watching my own films because I keep pointing out the mistakes in my head.”

The 48-year-old is one of the few people in the industry whose name pops up when one is scanning through actors who have extensive work with new directors, giving fresh talent an opportunity instead of blindly going after the established names. “I have worked mostly with the new directors than the acclaimed ones. So I think that my trust is much more in my talent than any other actor. I am always on a lookout for new talent someone who has a new story to tell or a unique perspective. A person who has something to tell me about the changing pattern of filmmaking as well as the performances. If I find someone worthy, I always do the film without blinking my eye.”

However, there are times when the work seems excellent on paper but it is not able to translate well on the screen. Does he have that fear in mind? His prompt reply was, “That has rarely happened in my case, so I have been lucky in this regard. Most of the scripts that I have opted for have translated well on the screen. So, I think that maybe I am good at finding the talent. When I look at someone and their creativity, the desperation to collaborate with them is much more.”

When asked if there is any particular reason behind not doing too much media interaction for Missing. Said Bajpayee, “The intention was not to generate curiosity amongst the audience by doing so, but it is the kind of story that we intentionally thought of keeping a safe distance from revealing any pivotal information, not even the little things such as the tracks or sub-plot of the story. So there is always a fear of giving away too much just by uttering a few sentences, and this is always for the advantage of the film. We want the audiences at the theatre to have the complete and satisfying experience of having the story unfold in front of their eyes and have their own opinions when they come out. We feel that it will be playing fair if we give this film a chance by not talking too much about it.”

The actor is a father of a 6-year-old Ava Nayla. So, does being a parent helped him in any way to prepare for this role. “No, but I am very paranoid about the safety of my child and  don’t want her to hurt herself. I am like any other parent in this aspect and am really concerned about her wellbeing. But I think that is true with each and every parent.”

There are no similarities between the character he is playing and his true self. “When you will see Sushant Dubey, you realise that I am completely opposite to what he is. If I meet someone like Sushant Dubey in real life, I will not befriend him. He is that kind of a person, so trying to get this character and its nuances right was quite a difficult task for me. There are certain things that I have done in this film which is very difficult to pull off, but I have given it a shot and I am glad that my director found it quite incredible and he is complimentary about it.”

On his career’s most satisfying performance, Bajpayee humbly said, “I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with skilled directors and got great scripts, and some of them have really become cult in their stature. Where I have reached today is something I never dreamt of, so I am very thankful to all the directors and people who believed in me and showered me with adulation. I have been really blessed and lucky, but at the end of the day, I have given my blood and sweat to all my films. So it is better for people to decide their favourites. For me, I am still improving and evolving. I would still like to be a better actor than what I am today. I am still trying.”

He has worked in short films like Ouch, Kriti and Taandav in the past.  “I would love to work in more of digital space in future. I am always looking for quality content, so the day I find an interesting story in a web series or a short film, I will again collaborate with those great minds who will offer it to me.”

Writer: Kritika Dua

Courtesy: The Pioneer

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