Manoj Bajpayee: Not filmmakers, viewers have failed indie cinema
Far from blaming the filmmakers for not promoting the independent cinema in India, actor Manoj Bajpayee says the fault lies with the "viewers" as they don't turn up to watch indie projects.
"What failed independent cinema is the viewers. They don't want to spend their money watching independent cinema, here the pirated dvds serve their purpose. Don't blame the film makers, they have been doing the good work since time immemorial.
"Only because of them I have been able to earn a name for myself. Having said that, with directors like Hansal Mehta, Anurag Kashyap taking the momentum forward, I have no doubt it will only shine brighter in near future," Bajpayee said.
The National award-winning actor, who was addressing a session during Bharat Rang Mahotsav 2017 at National School of Drama, also criticised media for judging a film according to the "first three-day box-office collection".
"According to box-office collection my recent release 'Aligarh' was not successful in India. It got 250 odd screens for its release, which is a very low number.
"But even now it's everyday shown in some movie festival or the other, and it's earning money. Now who'll aggregate that collection? The problem is that the media is making judgments based on the first three-day collection only," said the 47-year-old actor.
Known for his realistic acting in films such as "Gangs of Wasseypur," "Rajneeti," "Satya" and a host of others, the actor said he is tired of everyone using the word "realistic acting", as according to him there is a fraud going on under the garb of "realism" in India.
"Many a times during a shot I don't get to hear my co-actor, and the reason he is doing realistic acting. For me, characteristaion is the key, and this is what takes time.
"There is no other way to act. It takes me good one month to get into the skin of the character. Realism is the natural conclusion, but one has to start with characterisation to get better result," he added.
Ranking "discipline" as one of the most important trait that an actor must have, Bajpayee, who starts his day at sharp 5:30 AM in the morning says he keeps himself away from the night parties, and is everyday busy improving his skill and craft.
"During my struggling days, I was a part of a theatre workshop that ran for good 365 days. My attendance was 364 days, and that too because one day the class got cancelled.
"I am still very much that same. My daily routine even today means spending time reading my script and rehearsing my roles," he said.
Thanking his parents for letting him make his own career choice, he said what differentiates an actor from his contemporary is his "upbringing".
"No actor looks at a character in the same manner. Each actor sees things differently. This is I guess where the upbringing comes into play, and here is where you can make the difference with your performance," he noted.
Sharing anecdotes of the time when he was doing theatre, he says he still remembers his father taking pride in showing his "photograph on last page of India Today" to each and every household in his village.
"I never told my parents that I am doing theatre. My father found out this when he saw my photograph in the last page in India Today's edition. That was when he actually heaved a sigh of relief thinking I must be doing something nice," he added.