Content Comfort

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 02 Nov 2017 10:24:08


By Bedika,

Manoj Bajpayee may well be one of the top draws of commercial cinema, but the actor feels more at home with content-driven stories which help him break the mould of stereotypes.
The actor’s film Rukh, currently in cinema halls, has been acclaimed by critics. The coming-of-age drama, directed by Atanu Mukherjee, revolves around a young man grappling with his father’s sudden death.

Bajpayee, widely praised for his short but memorable turn as the father, said the “classic novel” structure of the script prompted him to take up the role. “When I read the story, I found all the elements of a classic novel in it. I play a middle class man who is struggling to deal with one situation after another. He is breaking but still trying to hold everything together. The story is told through the eyes of his son,” he told PTI.

The actor, whose performance in Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh will be remembered as one of the most poignant portrayals of what it is to be gay in India, said he took up the character of Ramchandra Siras, a professor in Aligarh Muslim University, “with a great sense of responsibility”.

“I was never doubtful about my character or the director. If there is a strong film like Aligarh, it can dent a stereotype but you have to play the role with a great sense of responsibility,” he said, adding that the film was an “important aspect” of his career.

“We somehow try to flow with stereotypes and try to play to the gallery and that’s where the danger comes in. If you are a trained actor and have the experience of so many years, you have to have your own interpretation of the character,” said Bajpayee, who worked for many years as a theatre actor before joining films.

“Otherwise what is the use of mugging your dialogues and delivering them? If you are experimenting with your craft, then you are contributing in the real sense,” he said.
The actor said he mostly took up commercial roles because of his relationship with filmmakers, but was always “surprised” that mainstream directors wanted to work with him.

“I have nothing against commercial films but it is just that I have never trained myself in that manner. I cannot boast of having been a part of the great commercial cinema. So when they offer me such roles, I always consider them, but mostly I do it (take them up) for friendships,” he said.
Content-driven films were a familiar platform, but he enjoyed working with directors such as Neeraj Pandey in the commercial space, he said, referring to their collaboration, Aiyaary.

“’Aiyaari’ is the ideal Neeraj Pandey kind of commercial cinema where he does not compromise with the realism of the story. He has a unique and realistic voice which is woven in a fantastic manner in the script. I don’t feel I’m out of my zone while working with him,” he said.
The actor believed though the audience was more receptive now to alternative cinema, the genre had still a long way to go.