You have to give me credit for going from the realistic cinema I am identified with into something so larger-than-life.— MAnoj Bajpayee
Ahmed Khan’s Baaghi 2 is one of the biggest openers of 2018 and also of Manoj Bajpayee’s career. The actor admits commercial success has been hard to come by in his career.
“I would be the last person to get cynical about something as successful as Baaghi. You have to understand that a success as big as this opens windows in my career constantly to do the cinema I believe in,” reiterates Bajpayee.
But doesn’t it get hugely disorienting to hop skip and jump from the realism of Aligarh and Missing to the outlandish hijinks of Baaghi 2?
“Who am I to judge the logistics of commercial cinema?” he questions. “I am just happy to be part of something as successful as Baaghi 2, more so since I was treated with utmost respect by the entire unit. This was my first with film producer Sajid Nadiadwala, and not for a minute did he let me feel like an outsider. I was given the most reverential treatment — I was paid well and well looked after. The director Ahmed Khan is so focused on his work, so eager to learn all the time. That hunger to better oneself is something I completely identify with,” says the actor.
What was it like to play such a melodramatic character?
Not easy, admits Manoj. “You have to give me credit for going from the realistic cinema I am identified with into something so larger-than-life. It’s not easy to make something as high-powered as Baaghi 2. And the kind of audience acceptance it has got, it must be respected. The man who pays `350 to see a film won’t squander it on something he doesn’t want to see.”
Manoj promises a new avatar in his next release Missing. “I’ve tried a completely different kind of acting in Missing — something I never thought I could do, and I hope it has worked. This freedom that I have to innovate in my performances comes from doing a successful film like Baaghi 2. There is no point in doing films that are seen only at film festivals.”