Manoj Bajpayee: “I have great admiration for Sidharth”

Amrita Tanna

Senior Editor


In Neeraj Pandey’s ‘Aiyaary’, Manoj Bajpayee is reuniting with the filmmaker for yet another thriller, this time with a patriotic feel. The film has a whole host of stars and Bajpayee has mentioned that the film is one of his best and that’s a bold statement considering he is one actor who is known for trying something different with each film. caught up with the actor ahead of the film’s release.


In ‘Aiyaary’, you’re sharing the screen with Sidharth Malhotra for the first time. What was it like working with him?
It was a pleasure working with him. He’s a normal Delhi boy and I have great admiration for him because it’s not easy to establish your foothold in the mainstream industry. He’s done it and he’s done it successfully. Also, he’s a very well-behaved person, quite articulate and well-mannered, thanks to his parents. He’s quite well-rooted, hard-working and very friendly.

Your versatility is something the audiences are always appreciating. What makes your role in ‘Aiyaary’ different to the others you’ve been seen in?
The answer to this lies in the question itself. There’s always an endeavour to do something different with each and every film that I take up. That search for good roles, directors and films will carry on. When I get to do something different to what I’ve done in the past, it pushes me to wake up in the morning and go for the job with all excitement.

You have disguises within ‘Aiyaary’. Would you say those scenes were particularly challenging at all?
Well, putting on make-up and become somebody else is something any actor can do. It’s not a challenge as such. It is becoming that person which is difficult. To do that, one works very hard on mannerisms and the thought process. In the end it all falls together and when you see yourself on the screen you really feel happy that all the hard work was worth it.

You’ve spent some time with BSF Forces recently. How was that experience for you?
It was amazing. I’ve done it for other films too and you only feel grateful to them. You feel the pain that they go through in difficult times and in all circumstances – standing and keeping an eye at the border for eight hours at a stretch whether that’s in heavy rain or in a lot of heat or even in heavy snow conditions. It’s a job that no normal person can even think of doing but they do it 24/7. Definitely, and very naturally, your head bows down to their commitment, to their devotion to the country and to their ultimate dedication to protecting the border.

You’ve described ‘Aiyaary’ as one of your best performances. What makes it so according to you?
Firstly, it is Neeraj Pandey’s film. Also, it’s a very difficult role to play. It’s a colonel who knows his job, who knows his mind, who’s a smart guy but he still feels vulnerable in certain situations. That was a difficult thing to carry off.

You’ve worked with Neeraj Pandey a number of times. How would you describe his sentiments as a filmmaker?
He’s one of a kind. If you haven’t worked with Neeraj Pandey then you’ve missed out on something. He’s an amazing mind which has come into the mainstream arena. This industry should really protect him, admire him and spoil him with all their love. With every film, he’s taking the industry one step ahead and one notch above. He’s quite a rare talent. thanks Manoj Bajpayee for talking to us. ‘Aiyaary’ is scheduled for release on 9th February.