Manoj up for a challenge

Manoj Bajpayee, whose film Aiyaary releases on Friday, has an enviable body of work, but the actor still yearns for good roles as he believes filmmakers have not fully tapped his potential as a performer yet.

Bajpayee is happy that independent actors like him are being appreciated. “... I feel I need to be used for difficult and challenging roles more often. I am not used to the fullest of my ability. To use myself as an actor, I need to work with new and good directors,” he told PTI.

“Instead of me looking for a director, they should look for me, which is not happening frequently. If the experienced directors are not looking at me as an actor, then I have to look for new directors. I have made an effort to find good directors. I want roles to find me and that has to happen frequently.”

Actors such as Irrfan Khan, Rajkummar Rao and Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Bajpayee have increasingly become popular in mainstream cinema, but Bajpayee believes the star system will always be there. “Those mainstream stars will always be there. But the strive is to co-exist and that is happening, it is becoming stronger and stronger and these (independent) films are slowly and slowly consolidating their place in the industry, which was completely absent earlier.”

“There used to be so much resistance to these films and actors but today they are respected. And this year, even at the mainstream award ceremonies, independent cinema actors won awards,” he said.

He hopes this change keeps on growing so that there is a healthy existence of both kind of cinemas. “Earlier, more commercial cinema was being made, now you have independent cinema. Today all kind of actors are doing well — from Shah Rukh Khan to Salman Khan to Akshay Kumar and Irrfan, Nawazuddin, Rajkummar or Adil Hussain.”

Bajpayee is awaiting the release of Aiyaary, which will be out on February 16.

The Gangs of Wasseypur star believes his Aks co-star Amitabh Bachchan is the last actor to witness a huge fan following.

“...That kind of mass hysteria was there for him then and even now across all age groups. Earlier there was a certain kind of mystery about the stars and he was the last one to see it. So that kind of privacy is gone, with Shah Rukh Khan it all went away as he had opened up himself to everybody. Today stars and actors are available anywhere and everywhere, be it at a mall or store launch or on TV shows. The mystery about a star is no longer there.”

Bajpayee is awaiting the release of Aiyaary, which will be out on February 16.


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