Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpayee’s Aiyaary is all set to hit screens and the upcoming thriller has everyone intrigued. Neeraj Pandey's film revolves around two army men and is based on true events of the past. Manoj Bajpayee and his love for cinema that is real and content driver is no surprise, and we had the amazing chance to talk to the talented actor about his upcoming film and his thoughts about the future of filmmaking.
1) You have worked with Neeraj Pandey a few times in the past, and he has quite an edgy outlook toward cinema. How much does that match your own sensibility?
A filmmaker like Neeraj is one of his kind. He is the kind of director who has the perfect vision for an actor like me. Every film with him is a bug challenge and that really helps to test my craft and perfect it further, which is a fantastic opportunity for any actor out there. I really look up to Neeraj and the films he makes.
2) You were recently quoted saying that Aiyaari is going to be the best film of your career. What sets this film apart from the others you have done?
It’s the genre about Aiyaari that attracted me the most. Not only is it a thriller, but it has equal measures of drama, crime and other elements in it. It’s a real craft to make and be part of a film like that. There’s no compromise on the subject and that’s what is special. As compared to my previous films, this one has a new way of telling the story, while still being thoroughly entertaining. The film highlights aspects of the military and the way they work, that we are still unaware of. My character in the film has many unique element. He is an army man who is cold blooded when it comes to doing his duty, but loves his family and is a different man at home. The meaning of Aiyaari is someone who changes his character with the intention to trick another person, and I think that itself best describes my role.
3) Neeraj Pandey thrillers are known to take unusual routes to reach the end. Sometimes these can be quite questionable. Do you think the end justifies the means, where any method to reach the end is acceptable?
I honestly don’t recollect any film I’ve done till date where the end is not justified, or the means are questionable. The beauty of Neeraj’s skill is how he experiments. He doesn’t do anything that has been tried and tested, making his films something to look forward to!
4) All your recent films have been intense. Are you looking forward to doing lighter films?
I have been asked this many times, but I never know how to answer it. All my roles in films have a shared goal to justify the word acting. Different films command different performances, and as an actor that is what drives me, even if it means sticking to similar genres.
5) You’ve done some short films like Tandav and Ouch, which were highly appreciated by audiences. What do you enjoy about doing short films?
I love short films. Even this year I’ll be doing one or two more. If there is a medium to experiment and explore then why not!
6) 2017 has been the year of Indi films. Do you think films like Aligarh and Newton get more support among public on social media than being recognised at award functions?
Awards will come and go but memories of performances will last forever. That’s why, even though Aligarh and Newton didn’t win, they’ll still always be listed on the top. If I ask you who won the awards last year, there is a good chance you won’t remember, but these two films you always will. To be part of such classics is more important than short lives recognition.
7) The Aiyaari team has been trying to avoid a box office clash since a while. First it was with 2.0, and now it’s PadMan. How do you feel about this? What effect do you think it will have on the film?
Our film was always supposed to be clashing with either PadMan or Padmaavat, so we were prepared for it. We’re going forward full of positivity and I guess that’s the beauty of our fraternity. There are so many films that release every year, so a clash honestly, is inevitable anyway.
8) What are your plans post Aiyaari?
After Aiyaari, I’m shooting for a special film that’s again very close to my heart. It is with Abhishek Chaubey, the director of Udta Punjab, and I always hope for the opportunity to work with his in a longer film. Also, my film, In The Shadows which played at the Dubai International Film Festival, is being made in Hindi, and that’s very exciting too!