If you have the skills, you may have to struggle but success can be yours, says actor Manoj Bajpayee who hails from a small town in Bihar, shifted to Delhi to study and then moved to Mumbai to make a mark.
“You can’t complain about nepotism by just sitting in a small town. Come to Bombay, start struggling, do theatre and learn some skills. If one has to compete with film industry children, you really have to be good. It is skills versus opportunities, and I feel skills matter the most,” Manoj said.
The 49-year-old actor’s initial journey in Bollywood was full of struggle and hardships. But it was his dedication which helped him to achieve heights in his career.
Manoj said: “After doing Bandit Queen, I shifted to Mumbai and living in Mumbai was not easy. I was not getting work. People were not believing in my abilities. I felt dejected and started doubting my capabilities.
“I was not having any work, I started feeling that my theatre work was just a fluke. But I didn’t quit. I got up, started knocking at the doors and worked on my skills.”
After Bandit Queen the actor did crime thriller Satya for which he got immense fame and also his first National Award.
For Manoj, getting a National Award was always his big dream.
He said: “The 1990s was a dark age of cinema and Satya came right at the end. It was a landmark film of Indian cinema and changed the face of our industry.
“I always had a dream of achieving National Award. Getting this award means getting into league of legends and big actors. It came as a surprise and I feel fortunate that I did film like ‘Satya’.”
Manoj is here for the ongoing Dharamshala International Film Festival, where his “Bhonsle” will be screened. He engaged in a discussion on films and about his “ideal way of direction” during a session titled ‘Manoj Bajpayee and the Art of Acting’ with senior journalist and writer Aseem Chabbra here.
“When I am in front of the camera, I just want to be left alone. I want to be observed by my director. If I am really going wrong, then I want my director to counter me. Sometimes, directors give too much information during the shots which I feel disturbing. I like to be briefed before the shots,” he added.