Manoj Bajpayee is humbled after being adjudged the Best Actor for his film Gali Guleiyan (In The Shadows) at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM). He said, “It is a very different award. The jury consisted of 90-95 percent of Australian industry and people who’ve worked in Hollywood. So, it’s a great feeling that you are judged the best by the people who have no biases.”
Two-time National Award winner Manoj Bajpayee’s another film Love Sonia opened the festival in Australia and received a lot of praise too. In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, the actor said, “It’s quite humbling, and you feel great that you are choosing the right scripts.”
Both Gali Guleiyan and Love Sonia are slated to release in the coming weeks. Gali Guleiyan is a psychological drama about a man who finds himself trapped inside his own mind. “Gali Guleiyan is the toughest role I have done in my entire career. You are talking about a trapped mind, whose brain is going in thousand directions at a given time. So it tests your skill, challenges your craft, everything you’ve done all these years. It is not an easy character. It took a toll on me. On the 28th day, I told my director to wrap up the shoot as I was on a verge of a breakdown. If you take it up (such a role), you mostly fail. I just wanted to fail with this kind of role, testing my own skill. But in the end, you as an actor feel elevated because in that demanding process you come up with something you’ve not done before and you surprise your own self,” Manoj shared.
On the contrary, Manoj revealed that he did not wish to do Love Sonia initially. “Love Sonia is about women trafficking which is captured in the most realistic way and will shake every body’s gut. I’m playing a negative role which I had turned down 3-4 times purely on the basis of my own morality, but they kept on coming back to me. I hated the character. When I took it up, I just wanted to show his perspective to the people. Faizal is someone who is doing the ghastliest of the work but when you listen to him, he considers it as his business, like any other business. That one perspective I wanted to put across,” he said.
Check out some photos of Manoj Bajpayee at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.
While Manoj won the Best Actor award at IFFM, actor Vicky Kaushal won the Best Supporting Actor for Sanju. Refusing to call 2018 his own year, Manoj rather said, “I don’t know. I think it is Vicky Kaushal’s year. I’ll be very happy because Vicky is doing great. He was my junior. He was an assistant in Gangs of Wasseypur. His father is a very dear friend of mine, though a senior.”
I was an AD giving claps for scenes in GoW. Today, receiving an award along with @BajpayeeManoj Sir on the same platform of @IFFMelb ,this journey has only been possible because I got to observe & learn from fine actors like him. Thank You Sardar Khan! 🙏 pic.twitter.com/tv13LYxLvQ
— Vicky Kaushal (@vickykaushal09) August 12, 2018
Manoj, who entered films in 1994, got his first recognition playing Bhiku Mahatre in Satya. Though he was a part of other memorable films like Kaun, Shool, Zubeidaa and Pinjar, his career was resurrected with 2012 film Gange of Wasseypur. Post that, the actor has been regularly delivering good performances, winning several awards too.
The maverick actor recalled his own journey and struggles. “I wish I was entering the industry 3-4 years back because the struggle of getting roles would have been almost negligible. It has opened up now.
“A person like me has worked and struggled very hard for this day to come where all the young actors are getting such content and such characters. It was impossible in my times. There were hardly any offers which were worth taking up. Seven years after the massive success of Satya, I managed to buy my own house. Today, in just two years, actors manage to make a house by doing what they want to do, like Rajkummar Rao and Vicky Kaushal. It is a great leap from those times. So, I feel very happy. And I have contributed in a small way to make this day happen,” he added.
Watch | Gali Guleiyan – In The Shadows Teaser
Manoj, who has films like Satyameva Jayate and Sonchiriya lined up, however, feels the industry is constantly changing and so, it is important to keep pace with it. “We are always learning and trying to keep pace with the world, world cinema and the pace of the industry. You can never be assured that you have learned everything. You have to keep updating yourself about every aspect of cinema,” he said.
Lastly when we quiz him about a role he’d like to better or make a sequel to, he said, “Abhi jo ho gaya uske baare mein kya sochna? (What is done is done, why should we think about it?) I am not a very nostalgic person. I hope that someone else will better it because the times have changed. I had done those performances based on my own exposure, education, upbringing and training. Somebody else will do it better in future.”