Having been a part of eight National Award winning films, Manoj Bajpai states that he doesn’t mind doing a film for free just to be a part of ‘great’ cinema. The actor talks about his upcoming projects and striking a balance between commercial and parallel cinema…
As an actor, have you got your due?
So far, only 25 per cent of Manoj Bajpai has been seen. Hopefully before I say goodbye to this world, I will be satisfied as an actor. Well, I cannot write roles for myself. I wait for filmmakers and writers to write great characters.
You no longer work with some of your earliest directors like Shekhar Kapur, Mahesh Bhatt and Ram Gopal Varma
I always feel sad when these filmmakers don’t work with me. If Ramu is not working with me, it is my loss. Similarly, it breaks my heart when Bhattsaab has nothing to offer me. At a time when I was dejected and was about to pack my bags and leave Mumbai, Bhattsaab asked me not to go. He said Mumbai would give me what I had dreamt of. And his prophecy has come true to a certain extent.
How do you strike a balance between commercial and parallel cinema?
A commercial film is very essential but I don’t want to be a part of one for the heck of it. My only advice to actors from parallel cinema is to not deny commercial films. If one Gangs of Wasseypur is successful, it not only makes you saleable but also gives you a lot of credibility.
You are doing a film with Prakash Jha and Bedobrata Pain at the same time?
I have done Bedo’s film almost for free as I did not want to miss out on a chance to be a part of great cinema. In Jha’s film I play a ruthless Naxal leader who is a well-read person and teaches a lesson to the government.
How do your negative characters gain sympathy from the audience?
I don’t look at them as negative characters. I observe and treat them as human beings and make it as believable as possible for the audience to relate to it. That’s why be it a Satya or a Pinjar or a Raajneeti or a Wasseyur, they all work.