For Manoj Bajpayee, the characters he plays are more important than bank account: IANS Interview

Mumbai, May 19 (IANS): Actor Manoj Bajpayee has come a long way since his debut in 1994 with 'Droh Kaal'. Over a career spanning three decades, the actor has worked across various lines of cinema, diverse genres, and a myriad of characters.

With his 100th film 'Bhaiyya Ji' on the horizon, the actor shared the secret behind keeping his passion alive for the craft of acting in an interview with IANS.

'Bhaiyya Ji' sees him returning to his homeland of Bihar, stepping into the role of a quintessential desi action hero.

Manoj, who is considered one of the biggest forces in parallel cinema, playing a massy action hero for his 100th film seems a bit unusual.

When asked about this decision, he said that, as a matter of fact, he never counted the films in his filmography; it was his director, Apoorv Singh Karki, who pointed it out.

Manoj told IANS: "I never counted the number of projects I've done. It so happened that Apoorv Singh Karki, the director of the film, discovered while surfing the Internet that 'Bhaiyya Ji' will be my 100th film."

"Then my co-producers and I decided to turn it into an occasion marking my 100th film in cinema," he added.

'Bhaiyya Ji' marks the actor's second film with Apoorv after 'Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai'.

Talking about what connects and allows them to explore stories together as an actor-director duo, Manoj told IANS: "We both come from small towns. So, we both know the dynamics of small towns or villages. We gel on that, and there's no pretense. I like the simplicity that he brings to the table and the clarity with which he directs his films."

A few days ago, Devashish Makhija, who has worked with Manoj on the critically acclaimed 'Bhonsle' and 'Joram', spoke about his financial challenges. Has the unpredictable nature of the audience after the pandemic made the business aspect of the industry very difficult to function?

Manoj feels that OTT has conditioned the minds of the audience to not venture out of their homes for entertainment, which affects the footfalls in cinema.

The actor said: "OTT has been quite a disruptor. When the world was completely shut down, OTT was the only mode of entertainment. It's such a vast world where you can watch anything from everywhere, and nothing is left to watch if you sit down and explore the medium. For a good 1-2 years, OTT ruled entertainment, and when theaters gradually opened up, people lost the habit of going to the cinemas because of the conditioning over these one or two years. But, slowly, things are getting better, and we are getting to a place where the cinemas are finally reaching pre-Covid levels in terms of footfall."

"We still aren't there completely. The efforts have to be focused, and we need to think strategically and creatively as artists to dole out compelling stories," he added.

Manoj shared with IANS the secret to keeping the child alive in him in pursuit of curiosity, which is a prerequisite for creating art.

"I've always been more interested in the story of the characters that I play than the bank account that I have. I personally feel that if you want your passion to be alive, then you will have to constantly hone your craft rather than being worried about anything else," he said.

'Bhaiyya Ji', produced by Bhanushali Studios Limited, SSO Productions, and Aurega Studios, is set to release on May 24.


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Title: For Manoj Bajpayee, the characters he plays are more important than bank account: IANS Interview

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