Manoj Bajpayee is a film industry veteran with a career so diverse and prolific, that it becomes hard to keep track of the actor’s contribution to some of the most path-breaking films India has produced. A two-time National Award recipient, Bajpayee has given some iconic performances in Ram Gopal Varma’s cult-favourite Satya and Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur, never stopping to experiment and play roles of all kinds, from a common man to an ambitious villain.
Moving on to making his digital debut with Amazon’s Prime Video’s The Family Man, releasing on September 20, Manoj spoke with Thestatesman.com about the series, India-Pakistan issues and his experience of playing a transition character.
Excerpts from the Interview:
How similar is Manoj Bajpayee to Srikant Tiwari? How do you balance your personal and professional life?
I’m not similar to Srikant Tiwari at all. Srikant is quite a quirky and multitasking person. He is into lying to get his job done. He is very funny. He always makes sure to keep his family and relatives are all together. Unlike Srikant Tiwari, I am not a multitasking person and am somewhat less funnier than him. I can hardly manage my own family. There are too many things in Srikant Tiwari which are just not ‘Manoj Bajpayee’.
It doesn’t take much to balance my personal and professional life. If you know you’ve a family, they become a priority at times and you should understand the priority. I never mix one priority with another. I prioritise my responsibilities and that’s how I manage it.
What made you opt for series ‘The Family Man’ and how did you manage to play both the roles at one go?
There were plenty of reasons that made me opt for the series. The powerful character and the script is something that came across to me as very unique and different from all the clutter that is available on any platform. Apart from it, the directors who directed me including Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK and Amazon prime Video which is such a humongous and powerful platform internationally, were sufficient enough for me to go ahead and do it.
Managing both roles is a tough job. I worked on my performance one month prior to shoot. There is one character who is fulfilling two responsibilities so the transition used to be quite difficult. But we managed it by working very hard and by making sure that nothing changes.
Why is that we always show missions against Pakistan? Why not any other country?
Apart from Pakistan, there is China too. But there are always borders issue between India and Pakistan. We Indians’ don’t read that many stories coming from any other neighbouring country. Being an immediate neighbour, we keep on reading and hearing stories about Pakistan and that’s how our creative filmmakers think of the story.
How do you see the changing trends of filmmaking?
It’s changing very rapidly and we as performers or filmmakers should really keep evolving and upgrading ourselves.
What creative edge do web series bring in recent times?
Web shows have actually impacted ‘the cinema scene’ quite a lot. It is somewhere asking them to pull up the socks and be really different and creative in their content. It is because web shows have very high quotient with them and they are not compromising on it. They have so much of freedom and liberty in expressing it.
The series will release across 200 countries, what are the other international projects you’re working on?
I am doing a Netflix web film Mrs Serial Killer under the direction of Shirish Kunder which also features Jacqueline Fernandez and Mohit Raina. Bhonsle will be my another film which will be releasing this year.