Manoj Bajpayee recalls when he started to lose hope in independent cinema

Critically acclaimed films were the foundation of Manoj Bajpayee’s 30-year career, but the actor says there was a time when he doubted his selections to actively give back unbiased cinema because he didn’t there were no viewers for his films.

It was the arrival of OTT (over-the-top) platforms that changed the sport for the Nationwide Award winner, who made his digital debut in 2019 with Prime Video’s “The Household Man.”

Citing the example of the disappointing response to his 2017 psychological drama “Gali Guleiyan,” the actor said he was unhappy when the competition’s favorite film failed to attract audiences to theaters despite good promotions.

“Somewhere in just a few years I started to lose hope in impartial cinema and my whole decision to go and help them because viewers showed no interest in going to the corridor of the cinema and watch them.

“It was the moment, somewhere I started to question my selection to support unbiased cinema. For me, it’s rather essential that people watch it and if they don’t watch it, I’m not not able to make movies for four-five people who will watch it… And that OTT point wasn’t there. So somehow it made me unhappy, not that I was heartbroken,” said Bajpayee to PTI in an interview here.

The actor said OTT happened for him, especially back when he wasn’t eager to explore the medium. Things started to fail after the sensational success of Raj & DK’s spy thriller series ‘The Household Man’.

“I thought I wouldn’t be part of the litter that’s there on OTT whether it’s provided to me or not. I had refused so much collection. Then “The Household Man” and dealing with Raj and DK took place.

“But getting that kind of success with the first season was unimaginable. Then the pandemic happened and the second season came, it went through all the data. In the real sense, it is the crossroads of India. All the independent films that were released after the first season on OTT, all of them were acquired so well,” he said.

His new love affair with streamers continues. The actor was recently seen in the Disney+ Hotstar movie “Gulmohar” with Sharmila Tagore. He will resume his position as intelligence agent Srikant Tiwari in the third season “The Household Man”.

“People everywhere are talking about ‘Gulmohar’ and the beauty with which they discovered it. Sharmila ji is so happy and kind that she said, “At the age of 79-80, it feels good that you are still darling.”

“I’m really proud of that because I’ve made unbiased movies, middle-of-the-road movies with new directors, putting all my religion into it. Many cases, up until now, the issues have never worked out with the viewers, but ultimately you just say, ‘It’s nothing but just the right time,’” he added.

Bajpayee said he witnessed a change in “The Household Man,” as most of his digitally released movies corresponded to “Mrs. Serial Killer,” “Silence… Can You Hear It?” “Dial 100” and “Gulmohar”.

“It’s been happening since the first season of ‘The Household Man’ and so a lot of my movies have come here and they’ve had a huge reception from viewers on OTT. It gives me a huge amount of satisfaction, a huge amount of perception or reassurance that whatever I did, I was excellent,” he said.

Bajpayee said OTT has restored its perception of unbiased cinema.

“…But now, thanks to OTT, viewers have shown one thing, that ‘When you come to me, I’ll definitely watch it and tell you exactly how I found out.’ So people talk about the film, about the performances. According to the actor, it’s important to delineate which movies can be for the theatrical experience and OTT during the pandemic bid period.

“If in any way they (viewers) would go see a movie that was a little more bloated, it would take a lot of leisure thinking about it. In India it’s a whole different game when it comes to cinema,” he said. ‘love. And we, as directors, have to very honestly determine what film we can send to theaters and what films do we have to present it on OTT,” he added.

Bajpayee’s most recent venture is ‘The Vial – India’s Vaccine Story’, a documentary on the national Covid-19 vaccine journey, on which he serves as narrator. The film, which brings to life the inside story of what happened in the production of the Covid-19 vaccine vial, premiered on TV18’s story on Friday.

The actor said he wanted to tap into the contribution of frontline workers throughout the pandemic through this documentary.

“It’s pretty much essential to give the people who find themselves backstage a good time. We still need to make as many documentaries and as many films about them as possible.

“For example, for me, it’s pretty critical to know what your cameraman does, how he stands for so many hours, and how many men of light (realize this) when taking pictures for a movie. They work in a really unhealthy and dangerous situation. The problem is that we don’t recognize the hassles of others,” he added.

Lasting 60 minutes, “The Vial – India’s Vaccine Story” unveils the story of India’s success in cultivating, manufacturing and delivering the Covid-19 vaccine in unprecedented time.


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