Prem Ratan Dhan Payo actor Manoj Joshi on struggling in Bollywood: ‘My pics were thrown into a dustbin in front of me’
Actor Manoj Joshi shares his journey from theatre to Bollywood — the challenges and humiliation.Updated: Apr 23, 2019 14:45 IST
Actor Manoj Joshi has played a cop, done comic roles, portrayed historical characters and experimented with grey shades, too. No matter how big or small his roles were, Manoj has always impressed audiences with his acting prowess and has managed to create a lasting impression. With a career spanning over two decades, Manoj was also honoured with Padma Shri last year.
The actor recalls that it wasn’t easy to get through Bollywood films, especially when he was tagged as a character artist. “My actual struggle started in the 1990s when I thought to branch out to films from theatre. The challenge came because I was tagged as a character actor at a young age and I wasn’t a star kid that I could get a film easily,” shares Manoj.
“I used to visit studios with my photoshoot. They used to see it and then keep it aside. Mujhe pata tha ki jis tarah se unhone photos liye hain, lagta nahi yeh mujhe jaldi kaam denge. There was a time when the director took the pictures and put them in the dustbin in front of me,” says the actor.
And from that day, the 53-year-old actor decided to “never get a portfolio shoot done”, just to share with filmmakers. “The incident shook me and it is a big insult for any artist. Moreover, for one photograph, it used to take us ₹8 at that time, and for 10 copies we used to pay ₹80 to ₹100, which was a very big amount. So, I used to go for the auditions without photos, and I’d give my shot and tell them ‘this is me in front of you and this is my acting’. So, they could decide on that basis,” Manoj recalls.
The actor doesn’t mind admitting that after such humiliation, there was a time when he had decided to stick to theatre until he was spotted by Sarfarosh (1999) director John Matthew Matthan, who gave him a break in Bollywood. “John had come to watch one of my plays where I was playing Mahatma Gandhi’s son Harilal Gandhi. After seeing my performance, he offered me a cop’s role in the film. I was sceptical, thinking ‘yeh ek scene ka role denge mujhe and isse acha toh main theatre mein kar lunga’. But when I heard the whole scene, I was impressed and decided to give it a shot,” Manoj says, adding that since then, there has been no looking back for him .
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First Published: Apr 23, 2019 14:44 IST