Manoj Bajpai is known to pull off the most intense roles to perfection. Think of the politician he played in Rajneeti (2010) or way back in 1998, when he essayed the iconic part of Bhikhu Mhatre in Satya.
But playing the promiscuous Sardar Khan in Gangs Of Wasseypur (GOW) forced him to step out of his comfort zone.
Tell us about your character in GOW.
My character, Sardar Khan, has two wives. He doesn’t know how many children he has. He doesn’t have a sense of morality, or of right and wrong. He loves sex and women. Violence comes easy to him. He is full of filth, but he is still adorable.
How did you prepare for the role?
I had to unlearn everything I’d done earlier. For the first 25 days, I would shoot and go back to my room. I wasn’t interacting with anyone. People thought I was a very private person, but I was trying to stay in character.
Did playing a philanderer bring you out of your comfort zone?
It was a huge risk. I may lose all credibility or, hopefully, people might like my work. Sardar Khan loves his wives, but he can’t help sleeping with other women. He makes all the wrong choices when it comes to women and is even beaten up by them. Everyone fears him, but his weakness is sex, so he lets the women rule him.
Were you comfortable getting intimate on-screen?
I’m not shy while acting. But I think Richa Chadda and Reema Sen (co-stars) were brave. They were telling me how to go about it, in a technical way. The sex is not meant to titillate. They want him as badly as he wants them. It’s humourous.
Has a fan ever proposed to you? Any pick-up line you remember?
That keeps happening in an actor’s life. It embarrasses you when you encounter it. It isn’t as exciting as it sounds, though. When you get embarrassed, people get the point and go away. Someone said you have a nice butt, someone pinched me on-stage!
Was your wife okay with you playing this character?
Shabana is an actor (she has acted in Kareeb and Fiza). She understands the technicalities of intimate scenes. In fact, she and my mother-in-law are dying to see the film. We have a one-and-a-half-year-old child, Ava, who dances every time the Hunterwali song from GOW plays.