If there is an actor in Bollywood today who is sweeping most of the OTT content as a protagonist, it has to be Manoj Bajpayee. The National Award-winning actor knows no boundaries and is a powerhouse of talent. Twenty-three-years back, we loved him in Satya, and we love him even more in The Family Man and Ray today. His diary is brimming with movies and web series. Over a month ago, we spoke to the actor about his popular web series, The Family Man 2, and here we are again, in conversation with him about his latest release, Dial 100.
Dial 100, which is streaming on Zee5, is getting mixed reviews. Critics and audience are not shying away to state that Manoj is shouldering the entire movie with his stellar performance, despite sharing the screen space with versatile actresses like Neena Gupta and Sakshi Tanwar. “This has come after over two decades of a rollercoaster ride. I have worked continuously with many failures and criticism as well. I am thankful for this time and fame,” Manoj puts a pause to our curiosity, and attributes the fame to his films and now to the OTT.
“It has given actors a platform to showcase their talent. I am getting inspired by many of my industry colleagues like Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Pankaj Tripathi and Vijay Varma. There is so much talent coming up now and actors are doing wonderful work; so are writers, directors and musicians,” he says, and concurs that the industry wouldn’t have seen so many brilliant artistes if OTT wasn’t there.
“It’s the best time to work in the industry for everyone. I am enjoying this time the most,” shares the actor, who smoothly transitioned from films to OTT.
Playing a senior police inspector, Nikhil Sood, Manoj’s character in Dial 100, lives with mixed emotions as he tries to solve a case that involves a suicidal woman and his own family. Directed by Rensil D’Silva, the film promises unexpected twists and turns. Manoj says he connected with the film deeply. “One call can change your life forever. There are positives and negatives, and both have the power to turn your life upside down — the concept resonated with me,” states the actor.
Although the actor has never experienced such a situation in life, Manoj recalls an instance from the set of Dial 100, when he was challenged emotionally. “For me, the situation after receiving the call in the film was difficult because I had to maintain the emotions. It may look easy on screen, but the flow of the emotions had to be correct at that time. It was not easy for me,” confesses the Gangs of Wasseypur actor.
When asked about his experience of working with Neena Gupta and Sakshi Tanwar, the actor opens up about his first introduction to Sakshi when he met her in Delhi for a play. “I was directing a play in her college. She was playing the lead role. Sakshi has become a great performer and has conducted herself with dignity and grace in the industry. I feel privileged to have worked with her. She has lived a long journey as an actor. It is inspiring to see an actress conduct herself gracefully despite odds,” Manoj shares.
As of now, Manoj’s calendar is packed with back-to-back films. He has completed Ram Reddy’s film, and is busy working on Kanu Behl’s next. “Both the films are different. With every film I am trying to push the envelope and do something new,” he shares. Manoj also has Abhishek Chaubey’s project for which the actor has already started the rehearsals. “I am a little nervous because right now we are working on my character in the film. I enjoy the process of building character. It feels the most satisfying thing,” the actor signs off.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)