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Gulmohar actor Manoj Bajpayee: One must understand the spiritual side of a character

The acclaimed actor recently spoke about his learnings from Shekhar Kapur - the director of his debut film Bandit Queen

Gulmohar actor Manoj Bajpayee: One must understand the spiritual side of a character
Manoj Bajpayee

Last Updated: 04.50 PM, Mar 06, 2023


Noted actor Manoj Bajpayee - who has been receiving rave reviews for his performance in Rahul V Chittella’s directorial Gulmohar streaming on Disney+ Hotstar, where he appears alongside veteran actors Sharmila Tagore and Amol Palekar - throws light on why it’s important to understand the spiritual side of a character he plays on screen.

Recently, while speaking during The Ranveer Show, when the actor was asked if meditation benefits his performing skills, the actor responded, “Bahut jyada.” Citing an example from his experience of working with acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur during the early days of his career, Manoj said, “Shekhar Kapur is a very spiritual person. One day, I was talking to him and he said, ‘if I don’t see the spiritual side of any character that the actor has performed, for me, that’s not a performance’. Aur mere samajh mein nahi aaya ke yaar yeh spiritual side kya hota hai, kaunsa spiritual side, kaise dikhaye isko. I understood it only five years back.”

So what does that ‘spiritual side’ mean? “Jo bhi character aap karte hain, woh toh aata jeevan se hi hai. Jaise ki ek rickshaw wale ka aap role karte ho, toh uska spiritual side kya hai? Woh subah nikalta hai, peddle karta hai, do logon ko bithata hai, unke destination tak chhodta hai, wapas aata hai, ussi paise se roti kharidta hai. Phir ussi paise se woh khana khata hai shaam ko. Aap puchhenge ke uska spiritual side kya hai? Uska spiritual side yeh hai ki he has surrendered himself to his destiny. And that surrender is there in his eyes. You’ll see that journey, you’ll see that he has surrendered himself, you’ll see that doesn’t have any hope. That’s his spiritual thing. When I am performing today, when I’m getting into the skin of the character, I should keep that in my mind. I have to surrender. A character has to surrender to his destiny. That is why he is doing it.”

Manoj made his breakthrough debut in Hindi cinema with Shekhar’s National Award-winning biographical action-adventure film Bandit Queen. He played the role of dacoit Mann Singh in the 1994 film, which featured Seema Biswas, Nirmal Pandey, Gajraj Rao, Saurabh Shukla and Raghuvir Yadav, among other actors. The movie was based on the life of Phoolan Devi. 

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