With powerful and offbeat roles in films such as Aligarh (2015) and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Manoj Bajpayee has showcased a gamut of emotions on screen. Ask the actor if he only likes taking up roles that are different and complex, and he says, “If the character says try me, or if it really challenges me then I am like a bull. When Aligarh was offered to me, it actually scared me. Not because I had to play a homosexual role, but because of the kind of performance it demanded.
If an actor doesn’t know how to give characterisation, he will never be able to give different kind of performances. Various roles pose different kind of challenge on the actor.”
Most actors rely on the director’s sensibilities for the projection of a character. Manoj, however, prefers to bring in his own interpretation to the table. “I bring in my own interpretation, but with the approval of the director. Be it a Ram Gopal Varma, Anurag Kashyap or Hansal Mehta, each one of them has given me loads of space. They never interfered. I’ve been lucky. They have so much respect that they give me a free hand to interpret and discuss with them,” says the actor.
He adds the only director, who has a different style of working is Neeraj Pandey. “I enjoy working with him. He wants his lines to be a certain way and he doesn’t like improvisations. For him, I have to chain myself to fit into his understanding of the character,” says Manoj.
The actor will next be seen in Sarkar 3, co-starring Amitabh Bachchan and Aiyaary alongside Sidharth Malhotra.