Its been twenty-four years since Manoj Bajpayee’s first release which was the electrifying Bandit Queen. His latest release Gali Guleiyan seems like its going to be another addition to his range of stellar performances. He plays a man who begins to get obsessed with his neighbour’s child and worries that he is being abused. That also becomes a metaphor for his own life as he grapples with the environment around him.
Shot in the narrow lanes of old Delhi, the film creates a claustrophobic and gloomy environment. Manoj calls this his most difficult character and went to the extent of living in the house that the film was shot in. He says that the dusty, old and humid house provided the right texture for his conflicted character in the film.
It shows his commitment to his craft, and tell us about how it has been a tumultuous journey for him. He talks about going for months without any work and surviving on the money he would get from his previous film. He finds today’s time much more conducive to different kinds of films and actors. In the 90’s Bollywood didn’t know what to do with someone like him, who didn’t fit into the conventional image of a ‘hero’.
But now times have changed, and Manoj has evolved - aggressively promoting his films on social media. “You have to get people’s attention, and for that if you have to put yourself out there or pull a few strings I will do it.” He also addressed the nepotism debate by saying that no star kid would do the kind of roles that he does; he’s existing in a universe of his own. His aim is to challenge himself with every film and role and create films that will be remembered years later.
Edit: Ashish Maccune
Camera: Sanjoy Deb