He’s a risk-taker, dedicated to his craft and quite insensitive to critics and juries. Versatile actor Manoj Bajpayee says, “I’m not that hopeful about getting honoured in this industry because we have too many do’s and don’ts.”
Every set of jury comes with their own agendas. So, you can’t expect any award.
In November, Bajpayee won the Best Actor Award at the 10th Asia Pacific Screen Awards in Brisbane, Australia, for his performance in filmmaker Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh (2015).
On not getting some of the major awards in India, he says, “I’m the first Indian to get this international award. Every set of jury comes with their own agendas in this industry. So, you can’t expect any award. When the jury’s agenda is purely to give away the award on the basis of excellence then I’ll start expecting. But here, each and every set of juries favour one policy one year and another the next year. You can just keep doing your work.”
He adds that the subject of Aligarh excited him, right from the word go. “Aligarh is a special film, not only because it’s considered a classic but given the fact that in a country where homosexuality is illegal and criminal, a film like it created so much debate,” he explains.
I’m just too much of a rebel. At times it scares me but that’s in my DNA.
Some believe he took a risk by taking up the role of a homosexual university professor but the actor doesn’t think so. “I’m just too much of a rebel. At times it scares me but that’s in my DNA. I keep challenging myself and raising the bar for my own self. It gives me a high to put myself in a risky situation. But when I come out as a winner, it gives me a lot of satisfaction.”
About the critics who more often than not down play his performances, Bajpayee says, “I don’t believe in critics. I have respect for them and the job they do, but I don’t read them because I’m the worst critic of myself. Nobody knows my craft better than me.”
“Also, commentators sit in an AC room and the players take the heat of getting out on ducks or making triple centuries. So why to think about commentators who are having a glass of wine and commenting about each and every ball,” he adds with a laugh.