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'Wasseypur hasn't made me a superstar overnight'

Last updated on: June 28, 2012 17:54 IST

Image: Manoj Bajpayee in Gangs Of Wasseypur
Sonil Dedhia in Mumbai

One of the biggest highlights of Gangs Of Wasseypur has been the brilliant performance by all the actors.

But it is Manoj Bajpayee who stood out as the maverick, lecherous, immoral person whose only agenda was to seek revenge in his own courageous style. 

In a brief conversation with Sonil Dedhia, Bajpayee speaks about the positive reactions he has been getting for his performance, how he will miss not being in the second part and why the success of the film will not make him a superstar overnight.

Are you happy that Gangs Of Wasseypur (GoW) and your acting have received some fantastic reviews? 

I am very happy that the film is getting such a positive response.

More than for myself, I am happy that a lot of my co-stars will get a lot of recognition. People like Pankaj Tripathi, Jaideep Ahlawat and many others have finally been able to achieve something.

I am so proud of Nawazuddin Siddiqui -- he is just brilliant in the film. The beauty of the film is that despite so many characters, everyone has been able to hold the attention of the audience.

'I have to understand that Anurag Kashyap is not going to cast me in all his films'

Image: Manoj Bajpayee in Gangs Of Wasseypur

Before the release of the film, you had said you didn't know how it would affect your career. What do you have to say now?

Even after spending so many years in the industry, I can't tell if a film will bring about a sudden change in my career.

Yes, I agree that offers that will come my way after the release of GoW will be substantial. But the film has not made me a superstar overnight.

The success of GoW empowers Anurag Kashyap to make similar films. It restores the faith of many people who are associated with this film that there is an audience that wants to watch this kind of cinema.

How does it empower you as an actor?

It doesn't empower me with anything. I am an actor and have to be practical enough to understand that Anurag Kashyap is not going to cast me in all the films that he makes in the future.

I just hope I get to do some good work which I have been doing all along.


'I don't understand terms like 'superstar''

Image: Manoj Bajpayee in Gangs of Wasseypur

You said GoW has not made you a superstar. How would you define a superstar?

It is the media that has coined the term. I don't understand these terms.

I don't think I can define it but I believe the general perception of a superstar is someone whose films have been consistently doing well and who has a huge fan following.

The film has opened to mixed response at the box office. What do you think is the reason behind it?

One section of the media was completely averse to the film. Either they were not aware of the background of the film or they had some kind of problems with the film.

But this section of the media is very small compared to the people who have liked it. Twitter has been buzzing with positive response towards the film. 


'It's very important for an actor to leave his morality behind'

Image: Manoj Bajpayee in Gangs Of Wasseypur

You have given your 100 per cent to the role in terms of your appearance and the performance. Was there anything that you were unwilling to do?

I think it is very important for any actor to leave his morality behind when he starts acting in a film.

I don't think I will have any problem in doing anything on the big screen.

People are curious to know how you managed to make your character so lecherous.

(Laughs) I guess Reema Sen is so beautiful that the expressions came out pretty naturally!

Jokes apart, I don't know how to explain that to you, it's really difficult.

Tags: Reema Sen

'Films like GoW should become a force to reckon with'

Image: Manoj Bajpayee in Gangs Of Wasseypur

Would you say Sardar Khan is the most difficult character that you have portrayed on screen?

It is never easy to portray such a character. I come from a literate and disciplined family, but my character in the film doesn't have any sense of morality.

As a person, he loves sex and women are his weakness. Violence and killing come naturally to him. In spite of all this, he is adorable and people like him.

I say it is difficult to play such a character because you cannot find any kind of reference for it. So I have just gone by Anurag's vision and have tried my best to portray the character as real as possible. 

At present, films are being made about macho men with plenty of action. Here's a film that throws those conventions out of the window.

I don't have any issues with films where you will see a hero bashing 10 villains who fly all over the place.

But I believe the success of GoW is very important to the film industry because it gives filmmakers a chance to explore such cinema.

Directors think that commercial films are the only option, but times have changed. What I would like to see now is films like GoW being made more often.

Films like these should become a force to reckon with.

'I don't think I can do a typical hero role'

Image: Manoj Bajpayee in Gangs Of Wasseypur

Would you be open to play a macho hero?

No, I don't think I can do a typical hero role. My physical appearance won't allow me to do it. Also, I can't dance and it will be difficult for filmmakers to make me look glamorous (laughs).

Will you miss not being a part of the second installment?

I will definitely miss it. I remember when I finished shooting for the film in Benaras I wanted to stay back and continue shooting for the film. The whole atmosphere on the sets was so positive.

I learnt so many new things. There are so many talented actors in the film whom I could learn so much from. 

I even joked with Anurag to take me in the second installment. I love being directed by him. I will cherish the experience of GoW forever.

Tags: Benaras

'I have completely changed my approach to acting'

Image: Manoj Bajpayee in Gangs OF Wasseypur

Many people say that you carried the film on your shoulders single-handedly. Do you think the second part will work without you?

Cinema is not an actor's medium. It is a director's job. Anurag is the person responsible for GoW. I think he has done a brilliant job. He is someone who has no insecurities and gives his actors all the freedom and allows them to take creative liberties.

I am 100 percent sure that the second part of the film will work. People who have seen the first part are very eager to see the second.

As I said earlier, there are some brilliant performers like Nawazuddin, Huma Qureshi, Pankaj Tripathi whose performances will be worth a watch. 

What is the most important thing that you learnt from this film?

I have completely changed my approach to acting. I have become a completely different actor after working on GOW.
I am fortunate to be a part of this film which gave me an opportunity to re-define myself as an actor and unlearn whatever I have learnt all these years as an actor.

I shot for Aarakshan after I finished shooting for GoW. The change was seen.