Taking his love for theatre forward, Manoj Bajpayee plans to open a creative centre that conducts workshops, plays, and trains aspiring actors
If Manoj Bajpayee is one of the finest actors in Hindi cinema today, he attributes it to his theatre background. Before his stint in the movies, the multiple National Award winner was not only an active part of acting coach Barry John’s workshops, but also taught at his acting studio, Theatre Action Group. Now, he is taking his love for the stage forward — he plans to open an acting institute.
To the actor, it is his way of paying back to the art form that enriched him. “It’s my dream to open a centre where theatre workshops and plays can happen in an intimate atmosphere. I would like to teach there when I am older. I want to build a mini-institute, where all kinds of cultural and theatre activities can happen. At the same time, it will impart education on everything related to theatre. This is what I’ll do if I have money. It’s my retirement dream project,” says the actor, who was recently seen in Gulmohar.
While his plans are at the nascent stage, the actor is certain that the institute will not be built in Mumbai as it “has too many places like that.” What he is seeking to build is a meeting ground for creative minds, where aspiring artistes can enroll in a programme and get a formal education in theatre acting. “I am talking to people [about the logistics]. I’d like to have top actors and personalities coming from all over [the country] and giving lectures. Any institute requires experienced teachers.”
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Theatre played a crucial role in shaping Bajpayee, changing his perception towards his craft and life. He wants to pay it forward to young talent who are keen to find a footing in the world of acting, be it films or otherwise. “Those who don’t have Godfathers in the film industry, only have to give a few years to theatre. Instead of complaining about nepotism, which exists in all industries, learn the craft. Nepotism won’t go away, so let’s discuss how we can make ourselves so strong that others cannot ignore you and your talent.” Tell him that some people perceive theatre to be a fading art, and he vehemently disagrees. “It’s the most ancient medium of entertainment. It has faced assaults from various kinds of mediums — cinema, television and OTT. But it has never faded away.”