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Monday, Oct 25, 2021
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Manoj Bajpayee Is A 360-Degree Character

Manoj Bajpayee more than acts out his role­—he completely absorbs it

Manoj Bajpayee Is A 360-Degree Character
Manoj Bajpayee Is A 360-Degree Character
outlookindia.com
2021-08-27T15:14:02+05:30

There is something simple and irresistibly charming in Manoj Bajpayee’s personality that draws people towards him. Ashish Vidyarthi introduced me to him and an instant friendship struck, which continues to this day. I worked with him for the first time in the TV series Kalakaar in 1994-95. He has grown as an actor, remains brilliant, and understands his craft. I have learned from him the importance of interpreting the character. A character cannot be mimicked. You have to internalise that character to get a 360-degree, onscreen interpretation—physical, mental and emotional. That is something I have observed in Manoj and learned from him.

From Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar!! (2000) to Aligarh (2016), I have also observed his intense involvement with his character since his early days, so much so that he would carry the character with him even after shooting was over for the day. It was almost like a burden he would carry—as if his entire being was taken over by that character. By the time we did Aligarh together, I found him far more relaxed and at ease with his craft. His process was not as transparent as before. He still follows the process, but enjoys the company of his co-workers. He is, I dare say, a lot more fun now.

For Aligarh, Manoj was not the first choice. Other names were bouncing around. When Mukesh Chhabra (casting director) suggested his name, I went to his house, and discussed the project on his balcony. It was done; as simple as that. I knew whether he was playing a 40-year-old or someone in his 90s, he would deliver with his own interpretation. I knew it would be beautiful. I was that confident. What happened next was way beyond my expectation. It was magical. Watching an actor in complete control of his craft is an absolute pleasure. That is why I was angry when Manoj did...

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