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Manoj Bajpayee Interview: I personally feel that no human being is a hero or a villain

Actor Manoj Bajpayee is all set for his forthcoming Bollywood film Satyameva Jayate. The film featuring John Abraham, Aisha Sharma and Manoj is an upcoming vigilante action thriller film. The film is scheduled to release on the occasion of Independence Day.

In an interview with Cinespeaks, Manoj Bajpayee speaks to us.

Q: A 2nd consecutive film with John Abraham, what is your experience like working with John?

Manoj: John is a good man, we get along very well, and when you have a good relation/rapport with a particular person everything works smoothly. Shooting is a tough task; it becomes quite taxing at times. But with John it is special as he comes from a very humble background and it makes the whole experience memorable.

Q: In Baaghi 2 you played a cop and now in this movie also you’re playing the role of a cop. What is your obsession with the role of a cop?

Manoj: I am not playing the uniform or the role of a cop, I am playing the character just the way you all are journalists and all of you are unique, the same way I try to find the person/character interesting, if it is then there is no question of the role of a cop. In one movie I may be doing the role of a DCP. In another movie I will be doing the role of a DIG. It’s always about the character that you are playing that has to be interesting.

Q: Speaking about characters, from the movie Satya till now you have always had a liking towards the grey and people are often unable to figure out if you are a hero or a villain until there is a twist in the finale

Manoj: I personally feel that no human being is a hero or a villain. All of us have our grey sides and that is why grey interests me because it is more human. There is always some kind of grey area that can be questioned in a Good person as well and this is what I try to look for and have been doing so for many years. Even Lord Ram had been questioned, all of us have a grey side, we should not run away from it and that’s why grey interests me.

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Q: Over the years when you make a name for yourself, does money take the priority?

Manoj: I have never done anything for free, even if it for 5 rupees I have charged for my services and that is why I left the theatre. Definitely the choice is mine and I don’t like to compromise on the choices I make but I would definitely like to be paid for the work I do. I have done many films but the kind of recognition “Satya” has given me I haven’t received that kind of recognition from any other projects I worked in prior and from Satya till now my effort was completely on the kind of films I wanted to do and I am happy that my choices have opened doors to other lines of actors like Irrfan, KK, Nawaz, and Rajkumar and helped their careers shine.

Q: what is your take on remakes?

Manoj: Some things are irreplaceable. Superhit movie ‘Deewar’ no one can make it again. Films which gain a cult status can be copied but the same magic cannot be recreated. When the original was made the situation was completely different. When Satya, Shool and Kaun were made people couldn’t imagine that these kinds of characters will be written. They never had an idea that such performances would be possible. Films like this were a breakthrough in their times. Gangsters in old films were always shown in white with big cigars. When Satya was released it changed the way people would look at the character. When Shool was released everyone thought this is the person we know from our nearest police station, when Kaun came people were left guessing who the real culprit is. People never imagined about such kind of stories. These films cannot be recreated with the same magic.

Q: Are you open to recreated movies or biopics?

Manoj: Biopic, it depends on which film you are calling a biopic. Aligarh was a biopic and Zubeidaa also was a biopic. Shool in many ways was a biopic. It was based on true stories. Budhia Singh is a biopic. It depends what you call a biopic. I personally would like to do a biopic like Aligarh or Budhia Singh talking about common people because they are my heroes. They go through many struggles every day and they manage their lives and educate their children. Surviving in this difficult world. I would love to associate myself with those kinds of people.

Q: One kind of character that you would want to play or been wanting to play from these many years?

Manoj: Nothing like this has happened to me. I have done all types of characters that I have thought about and wanted to do and now I am looking for new directors with a new kind of storytelling. A unique script that has never been thought of in our India. Only a new director will bring this. Someone who is hungry or passionate. I’m looking for that script and this will come from a new director.

Q: Regarding the film Aiyaary, there was not a single review where you were not praised. How do you feel about that?

Manoj: Aiyaary is a great film and one of my best performances of my career and one the best roles I have played. Aiyaary has done well and covered its money as far as the success is concerned and I don’t have to worry about that. Whereas the creative part is concerned I think it is a superlative film and I am very proud of it and I am very happy with my performance also. I am very happy with the role I received to be played in the movie. After 24 years I’m still here in front of you talking on my next film. Thank you very much, God bless me. My existence in this industry proves that you just have to focus on your work and do your best and you will be here regardless of the success your film makes.

Q: Supreme Court is about to take its final call on article 377 in India. What is your opinion on that? Do you think it should go away?

Manoj: It shouldn’t have been there in the 1st place. I only urge the Supreme Court to take the decision in favor of eligible of the community and favor of a healthy society and abolish this as soon as possible. Let’s be fair to the section of our society who are living alongside with us. I have done a film on this in the times when being Gay was criminal and people loved it when the movie was released.

Q: You’ve made short films and everything, but now with features coming out on Netflix and Amazon do you think there is a requirement for censor board?

Manoj: This has been the question for a long time. In the age of the internet the whole significance of the censor board is a question mark. But they are hell bent and they will try to Jab you or stop you or silence you as much as possible. Digital is free today but they are afraid and they are still looking at ways to Jab it. Only time will tell.

Q: We have seen so many actors on web series; will you be doing a web series?

Manoj: The Family Man Amazon original web series Directed by Directors Raj & DK. I’m already halfway and it will be completed this year. Next year it will be streamed to 200 countries. I am enjoying it and it is a one of a kind experience and we always need new subjects and content to experiment and go deep and satisfy your creative urge. With just films you are bound to make compromises because there is no other output and it will be a complete waste of time and energy waiting for just one script.

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