After winning the Best Actor award at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2019 for his performance in Bhonsle, Manoj Bajpayee has started shooting for the second season of Amazon Prime Video’s The Family Man.
Manoj reveals he will be working on four films back-to-back in 2020. Taking time out from the shooting of The Family Man 2, the versatile actor got candid with indianexpress.com about his big win on the global platform, the digital space, and why his Srikant Tiwari stuck a chord with the audience.
Excerpts from the conversation:
1. The Family Man 2 has gone on floors. What can we expect from the next season?
It’s getting bigger and better. It’s going to be quite an experience which will be completely different from the last one. Srikant Tiwari will go through some very tough challenges in his life and career again.
2. What about Srikant Tiwari struck a chord with the audience?
He is a common man who is doing his duty. He can be anybody who does his duty in this country and city. They do it as part of their routine. They go through this struggle of daily life. They try to balance family and work. They are the real heroes. When I was doing my character, I wanted to do it in such a way that people feel good about themselves and looking at him they think how hard it is to get that balance between family and job.
— manoj bajpayee (@BajpayeeManoj) November 28, 2019
3. Do you need some real-life inspiration for your characters or you create them in your mind?
I hail from a village. I left my village at the age of 17 and a half. I must have met more than 50 thousand people. All those people and experiences with them got stored in my mind. So I don’t need to go to a slum to really understand how they live or to prepare for a character. All those experiences and lines are stored (in my mind) and you just take them out whenever needed.
4. Asia Pacific Screen Awards has recognised your work yet again after Aligarh in 2016. How do you feel about your achievement?
It’s the second time and my happiness knows no bounds. Bhonsle has been my passion project and I always wanted this film to be made. It took four and a half years. I saw so many financiers coming and then running away. We found it very difficult to shoot the film because we didn’t have enough money. So every day was quite a struggle to make this film. Now, we plan to release it next year.
The gracious @BajpayeeManoj wins Best Performance by an Actor for BHONSLE: “This film is a very very special film to me and winning this film is a poetic justice for everyone who made this film. Thank you APSA.” #APSA2019 pic.twitter.com/l8hijWGa21
— Asia Pacific Screen Awards (@APScreenAwards) November 21, 2019
5. What is your role in Bhonsle?
The role is of a retired constable. He is somebody who is not willing to retire because he has nobody to go back to. He is scared of the monotony of life and old age. But he has to retire, and what happens after that is the story of Bhonsle. Also, it all happens in the backdrop of Ganpati Puja and local violent conflict.
6. There’s some story that a short film titled Taandav inspired Bhonsle. Tell us about it.
Since we were waiting for finances to happen, we got so bored that Devashish Makhija (Director) wrote a short film as a tribute to Bhonsle that we wanted to make. And that was Taandav, which we made while we were waiting for producers to back Bhonsle.
7. How difficult or easy is it to make an independent film as compared to a commercial film?
It’s the most difficult thing to write an independent film. It is the most difficult thing to act in such a film because there are only challenges and nothing else. It completely tests you as an actor. No other genre tests you like that. Also, to get financiers and producers for these kind of films is very difficult.
8. Do you think you get recognised and awarded in a better way globally than back home? Even your Gali Guleiyan did great at various film festivals.
As much recognition this country can give to an actor who purely functions on his performance, it has already given me. I don’t have much left to offer to people and this industry now. I only have one thing to offer since the past 25 years, and that is performance. And that’s exactly what I am doing.