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Manoj Bajpayee getting recognition, at last

Manoj Bajpayee getting recognition, at last
February 08
06:28 2018

With Neeraj Pandey’s political thriller, ‘Aiyaary’, edging closer to its release, its lead actor, Manoj Bajpayee, has explained the meaning of the title.
The 48-year-old told the media, “The meaning of the word ‘Aiyaari’ means imposter, who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others, especially for fraudulent gain”.
“This is what our (Sidharth and Manoj) characters love to do in the film”, he added.

Talking about the positive response for its trailer, the actor said, “It feels good if your movie’s trailer is being liked by people in the beginning as it indicates that people are getting curious to watch the film, which automatically helps us clear the first stage”.

The movie also stars Rakul Preet Singh, Pooja Chopra, Adil Hussain, Kumud Mishra, Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher in lead roles.
Manoj Bajpayee remains one of India’s finest actors till date. His journey in filmdom makes for classic film narrative – peaks and troughs of struggle, success, set backs and finally, recognition and acceptance.

Bajpayee shifted to New Delhi from Bihar with his heart set on making it to the elite National School of Drama; he was rejected four times over. Today, he teaches occasionally at the institute. Bajpayee’s journey in Hindi cinema mirrors the contradiction that fine actors like him often face in the industry- having to prove their worth and their ability each time over, even as the star system dominates.

He is the kind of performer that shines despite stars, circumstances and scripts. He stands out in Rajneeti amidst a bevy of stars, amuses in the terribly misled Aks, and holds his ground in Veer Zaara. It has taken him over 15 years to get equal footing in worthy films. Be it Anurag Kashyap’s indulgent, and irresistible Gangs Of Wasseypur, or his part of a naïve CBI officer in Specal 26 pitted against Akshay Kumar, he commands the screen with convincing, controlled performances. A recent flop, Rukh, again brought out his fine acting nuances to the fore. Of course, Aligarh, where he plays a gay professor condemned by people in a small town, he was at his best. Even in average content, he tends to stand out.
That Bajpayee remains, as relevant today as he did in 1998 is evident from the success his short films have had online. With Ouch! A film that Neeraj Pandey and he have collaborated on, he brings on the just the right amount of seediness. With Kriti, he plays a character contemporary audiences can connect with easily.

When the media had asked him about Aligarh, a performance that won him a Filmfare Best Actor Critics Award, but didn’t get any recognition at the National Film Awards, Bajpayee had tersely replied – awards don’t give you work. If nothing else, the statement reflects that even for a performer of his caliber, work isn’t always easy to find. It’s also a throwback to the downer years when the actor appeared in many forgettable films and also did some down South. Work is sparse, even for the finest.

Of course, the tide has somewhat turned presently. Rajkummar Rao proves to be a good example of changing trends for quality actors. Bajpayee too, has found a rhythm of sorts with filmmaker Neeraj Pandey. Pandey casts him in Aiyaari in a leading role, along with Sidharth Malhotra. Bajpayee has worked with Pandey in 6 films, a filmmaker with a distinct narrative style and a penchant for thrillers. Like Anurag Kashyap, Pandey places a substantial part on Bajpayee’s shoulders in his films. Together, they also have a suspense thriller with a romance coming up.
With the idiom of a successful Hindi film changing for the better today, Manoj Bajpayee might yet find his place in the sun. Aiyaary seems intriguing, and here’s hoping that more such mainstream films emerge from this brilliant actor in future.

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