I am doing justice to the audience by doing such films- Manoj Bajpayee

The effortless actor Manoj Bajpayee in an exclusive interview with India Forums. Excerpts:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 | 5:08:10 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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The modern rendition of 'Raghupati Raghav' in the film Satyagraha is getting appreciated by everyone these days. The meaning of the new version is completely opposite to what the old version was. What was your reaction when Prakash Jha made you hear this song for the first time?

When I heard the song for the first time, I completely fell in love with it, the lyrics. Prasoon Joshi has done wonders with the lyrics of the song. In the song, the people are saying that you have given us enough patience but now please don't give us patience. It says so much about the time that we are living in. We are completely frustrated of being patient, of lying low.Now it is the time to fight for your rights and ask for your rights. So this says so much about the time that we all have reached to. Its so apt for it. 

You have always worked well on the look of all of your characters, it is relateable yet different everytime. 

If you look at me in Satyagraha, I have done nothing. I just went like the way I look. Everything that we do, we do according to the requirements of the character and alot of thought goes into it. I think about it so many times, when I am on the treadmill I am thinking about it, when I am with my daughter I am thinking about it. So your mind is completely caught up. It is not a result of a thought of one day. It is the result of constant mulling over and suddenly one day you get into the character and then you want to look like that. How you get your costumes ready, how you get your walk ready, how you get your gestures and postures ready for the character. Everything about the character should be done in a way that it should not look like a caricature. It should look the character and not anybody else.

Do you think that because you are from a background of theatre that is why it is easier for you to adapt anything to get into the skin of the character than anyone who has not had the taste of impromptu performances in front of live audience? 

It does help, you know but at the same time I research. Nothing is just like that, everything is to achieve something in the film. So accordingly I have to look right in the film. So sometimes I grow a moustache, sometimes I grow my hair even though that's tough as I have curly hair and sometimes I shave them off completely. Like in Rajneeti, my hair needed to be straight, I just thought that curly hair would not suit me. Straight hair is required and the character needed a moustache too because of the kind of background he comes from, the mental state that he is in. The process is quite long. It looks easy but it is not. 

When you did your first film, Rajneeti with Prakash Jha you had once said that you used to call him in the middle of the night also if you didnt understand something in the script. So after Aarakshan, Chakravyuh and now Satyagraha how is the relationship between you two?

The relationship is fine. We are comfortable with each other. But at the end of the day, he is a senior person. I would not behave in an over friendly way with him. My opinion has been such that after a point you know where to draw a line. Thats how I behave with all the senior people. It is a professional relationship at the end of the day. We share a pure professional relationship. What he gives me, If I like I do it and that's it. 

Satyagraha is about the fight against corruption and this has been the raging problem of our country. We do see protests happening every other day. While every film of Prakash Jha creates a controversy all the time, Prakash Jha ends up winning it as well. So did you in the course of making a film feel that this time this film should be controversy free?

The film has a socio political connection and it is going to create some kind of a spark, some kind of a reaction. But at the end of the day a film is a film. This film is about a personal journey of an old man while Anna Hazare movement is a very socio political movement.  In the film people are fighting against this corrupt man called Balram Singh and how people join and come along. Whether they win the battle or they don't win the battle is something that we have to wait and see. 

How was your shooting experience as the location of the film was very raw and real?

I am used to it because most of my films are very real, most of my films are shot in very real locations. These are the kind of films that I do. I enjoy working on such films and such locations. I relate to it because somewhere I feel that I am doing justice to the people, to the audience by doing such films. 

Alot of your films are somewhere linked with a socio-political scenario. So do you keep a track of the political scenario of the country on day to day basis as well?

(Smiles)  Rajneeti was related to politics but it was also a story about a family and now after 4 years Satyagraha is. But no so soon I would be playing a politician again ( Laughs). Its just that I am an aware person. I keep reading so all that adds to my observation.  

What do you have lined up for us after Satyagraha?

Saat Uchakkay is coming, it is a Neeraj Pandey production and is a humourous film. 

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