Real stories and realistic characters have always fascinated Manoj Bajpayee. The actor has almost made it a rule to play real life characters be it a coal mafia in Gangs Of Wasseypur or a naxalite in Prakash Jha's Charavyuh. Now he will be seen as a CBI officer in Neeraj Pandey's upcoming film Special Chabbis which is once again based on real incidents. We talk to the actor about his forthcoming roles and his penchant for them.
Your first film with director Neeraj Pandey, have you seen A Wednesday and what was the experience like?
After watching A Wednesday I called him up and showed eagerness to work with him but then he didn't do any film after that. I was saddened that he hadn't called me. He finally got back to me after three to four years. I have got my results now. I am grateful to him. He has given me a great role and is a great entertainer.
How much of research did you undergo for this film?
Neeraj had all the information. I didn't have to take any trouble. All I did was read the script many times. Reading a script repeatedly is like a research on it's own as you understand the nuances of your role. There are times when I don't read a script I only take narrations from Parkash Jha. I work on my image and the character. My approach to every film is different the method changes. I feel an actor has to open up he should not be caught in a web. He should not restrict himself.
You have played a police officer earlier in many films, how different was this role?
I am playing a C.B.I officer in this film which is very different from a police officer's role. This is the first time I am playing plain clothes C.B.I. Officer. They have a different approach to work and they cannot punish the criminals but they can take the help of the local police to investigate their case. He's a very intelligent, sharp and conservative man. He is very particular about the way his wife dresses up but at the same time he is a good father. He won't shy away from taking a bribe to run his house. When he gets a case he's like a horse very energetic and always on the run. When he is not working he is sleeping. He sleeps a lot.
How alert are you in real life?
I am not alert in real life. I do as I wish and don't care who looks at me or not. I don't put myself in an frame or restrict myself as a person. I know I am actor but at the end of the day I am human being. I have my own life and feelings.
Do you feel it's the best phase for the industry as talented actors like you are being approached with different genres and roles?
It's a good phase for the industry, new directors and multiplexes are coming we are getting a wide choice of roles. Earlier I would wait for the right role to come by. But now competition has also increased. There are many actors who are ready to take up a role. So also have good directors and good technicians come up.
Do you believe in competition?
I don't believe in competition. If the film or role that doesn't come to me I don't' run after it. I only consider the roles that I have been signed for. I have some wonderful films up for release now. There's Sanjay Gupta's Shootout At Wadala and Prakash Jha's Satyagraha. I hope all these films do well.
Heard you are playing a real life character in Shootout At Wadala again?
I am playing the role of Sabir Ibrahim Kaskar in Shootout At Wadala. He gets killed by Manya Surve. It's a gang war story. I have read Hussain Zaidi's book Dongri to Dubai. Both Dawood Ibrahim and Sabir Ibrahim Kaskar were larger than life characters.
Does it become difficult for an actor to play real life characters?
It's not difficult to play real life characters; you can just add your own perception to the characters as you have not seen them. These characters have been heard of but not much is known about them, you have heard of them from people who knew of them. So there are no particular references. Not many know about Sabir Ibrahim, Dawood's brother hence I can give it my own interpretation. Like when you are playing a Gandhiji's role It becomes much easier as there are many documented facts and pictures about him.
What about Prakash Jha's Satyagraha?
We will start shooting the film in February and finish it in April.