There's something cunningly wrong about Manoj Bajpayee's character that you want to hate him on screen. But it's only when you leave the theatres you come to know the reality. Ask hundred people about Satya, Aks and Raajneeti and they'll have one unanimous name – Manoj Bajpayee. It's good to be bad sometimes and no one does it better than Bajpayee. I recall the first time I met him at my office studio in Khar and he was happily munching on daal khichdi and sipping red wine. Yes, a strange combination. That strangeness is what Manoj likes. He likes it different on screen too. That's why most of his roles have simply turned out to be iconic. When one of the best in Bollywood decides he wants to make a sprawling and mind-blowing impression on screen, well, who's gonna stop him? Here's an exclusive on what Manoj Bajpayee thinks of Gangs of Wasseypur, his director and how excited he is to walk the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival.
How larger than life is Gangs of Wasseypur?
When you see Gangs of Wasseypur, you'll find out that it's very real and yet larger than life. Anurag Kashyap's vision was to make a big film in a very realistic way. To be honest, I don't see myself as a larger than life actor. But yes, this is larger than life cinema. I've worked in Satya, Aks, etc. but Gangs of Wasseypur was a very enriching experience for me. I am in love with my character. The role could've been played by anyone but Anurag trusted me that I will take it one step higher than his vision.
Are you looking forward to grace the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival with your film Gangs of Wasseypur?
I have applied for my visas. Currently, I am in MP shooting for Prakash Jha's movie and may not be able to wrap up in time for Cannes. But Anurag has told me that he will manage to get the visas sorted. It'll be quite an honour to walk the red carpet at Cannes. Anurag has given me this opportunity and I thank him for that.
The trailer was superb and it so sucks you in the world of Wasseypur. Even the lingo is not the Hindi we usually hear in commercial movies. You think that'll be its USP?
I don't know whether the lingo we've used in Gangs of Wasseypur is our USP but it is surely the world we are talking about. As I earlier said, it's very real. The main story is going to be something that you've never experienced before on screen. Having said that, the movie is in two parts but it is no way similar to The Godfather. Gangs of Wasseypur is so strong in its content that it had to be told in two parts. That was the only option Anurag had.
I told Anurag Kashyap after finishing my part in Wasseypur. I've never had an experience like Bandit Queen. An experience of working with an actor's director. Shekhar Kapur did that in early nineties by casting me in an iconic film. I told Anurag, "You've given me the same experience yet again." I feel Shekhar is one of India's finest directors but Anurag could match that experience. Anurag has grown so much over the years. I've known him since his struggling days with Ram Gopal Varma but today he has grown hundred times more than all his other contemporaries.
Will crime and vengeance be retold through Gangs of Wasseypur?
I don't know whether crime will be retold in Gangs of Wasseypur. I don't know whether vengeance will be reinvented too. Gangs of Wasseypur is about the people of Wasseypur where people inherit crime. I've never seen crime being a part of life but these people happen to live it in crime. Crime is not to thrill you, to sensationalise you, shock you or excite you but crime is the part of their daily living that you'll be seeing in Wasseypur.
You'd choose the good, bad or the ugly?
I've never looked at characters as bad or good. But I like grey shades to the roles I've played. I like to believe that nobody is pure. Everyone has that dark side to them and I'd like to explore that. If a role has that I'd love it. If somebody is not a criminal he is a wife beater, if he is not a wife beater than he is a liar. If not a liar then he is ready to do anything to make it to the top. I don't believe in pure goodness in a guy. There is so much badness is every individual that it needs to be shown to the world because nobody in real life wants to show their bad side.