If OTT content is censored, it will be sad. Give the makers the liberty to self-censor as restrictions would hurt everyone: Manoj Bajpayee
As the world attempts to go back to the pre-Covid-19 pace of life, actor Manoj Bajpayee has been working non-stop in back-to-back projects, and loving it. “I am happy to be shooting and wrapping up all my commitments. We are following guidelines on the sets and being immensely careful,” he admits.
Last month, his film Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari was the first film to release in theatres after they reopened. Bajpayee is happy that people loved his character and performance. “The response has been great. We only wanted people to love the film and the word of mouth has been stupendous. Whoever could watch the film liked it. Theatre owners were willing to screen the film in theatres. It is just the beginning. I am happy that we took that first step. I hope others will follow suit. We chose to go ahead knowing it would difficult to go and watch it. Few braved Corona and watched it. It was a risk that paid off. It is a success for me,” he says.
The two-time National Award winner believes that other filmmakers will follow suit and release their movies in theatres. “Earlier people were apprehensive of flying during the pandemic but now one can’t get a ticket easily. I hope theatres start filling out, people will brave it out and go to the theatres. When they see the precautions taken by cinema owners, they will feel safe being there after following all safety instructions. While there is a surge in Covid cases in various places in the country there is good news about the vaccine being available soon. And once the vaccine can be given, people will be able to move about safely,” he hopes.
Other than movies, the Padma Shri recipient has been busy with web shows, and his show Family Man was hugely appreciated. Ask him about fresh content out every week on various OTT platforms, is the space getting cramped, overloaded and losing quality and he replies unfazed, “One shouldn’t bother with clutter as people are consuming everything as they are at home. If they don’t like something, they immediately switch off. People have an amazing appetite for stories and content.” He is stoic on conversation around censoring OTT content, especially bad language, nudity and violence depicted in them, and says, “If at all, that happens, it will be sad. It will curtail the wings of filmmakers. I agree, people have the freedom and at times, they go overboard. If it is a story requirement, then it needs to. I think makers should get the liberty to self-censor as restrictions would hurt everyone. There are a number of shows like Delhi Crime, Scam or even Family Man didn’t have any such scenes,” he says.
Bajpayee won the Asia Pacific Awards for Aligarh and Bhosle and recently won the Asia Academy Award for Family Man as well. Feeling humble, the actor says, “Nomination is a big thing even if you don’t win. Your work garnering appreciation globally means a lot. More than anything, for me the recognition means my audience base is increasing, which is what matters to a performer. There is no bigger award than people loving your work,” he shares.
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