Manoj Bajpayee said that he was treated unfairly by the industry bigwigs, and even slammed for not having 'the ideal hero face.'
Manoj Bajpayee has come forth marking shocking revelations about the tough times he has seen in Bollywood as an outsider.
In a recent interaction with Humans of Bombay, the star shared how he struggled tirelessly in Bollywood and was even slammed for not having "the ideal hero face."
"He started off by sharing how he knew acting was his destiny from the age of 9. “I’m a farmer’s son. I grew up in a village in Bihar with 5 siblings. We went to a hut school. We led a simple life, but whenever we went to the city, we’d go to the theater. I was a Bachchan fan & wanted to be like him. At 9, I knew acting was my destiny.”
"But I couldn’t afford to dream & continued my studies. Still, my mind refused to focus on anything else, so at 17, I left for DU. There, I did theatre but my family had no idea. Finally, I wrote a letter to dad–he wasn’t angry & even sent me Rs.200 to cover my fees! People back home called me ‘good for nothing’ but I turned a blind eye," he added.
Talking about how he desperately attempted to fit in the Hindi film fraternity, Bajpayee said, "I was an outsider, trying to fit in. So, I taught myself English & Hindi–Bhojpuri was a big part of how I spoke. I then applied to NSD, but was rejected thrice. I was close to committing suicide, so my friends would sleep next to me & not leave me alone. They kept me going until I was accepted."
"That year, I was at a chai shop when Tigmanshu came looking for me on his khatara scooter. Shekhar Kapur wanted to cast me in Bandit Queen! So I felt I was ready & moved to Mumbai,” he shared.
After shifting to Mumbai, Bajpayee shared a chawl with five others and started looking for work but got no roles.
Talking about his initial days of struggle, the actor said, “Once, an AD tore my photo & I’ve lost 3 projects in a day. I was even told to ‘get out’ after my 1st shot. I didn’t fit the ideal ‘hero’ face–so they thought I’d never make it to the big screen. All the while, I struggled to make rent & at times even a vada pav was costly. But the hunger in my stomach couldn’t dissuade my hunger to succeed.”
After four years of constant hard work and untiring struggle, Bajpayee managed to bag a role in Mahesh Bhatt’s soap opera Swabhimaan that aired on Doordarshan.
“I got Rs.1500 per episode–my first steady income. My work was noticed & I was offered my first Bollywood film & soon, I got my big break with Satya,” Bajpayee recalled.
He concluded stating how all his hard work finally paid off in the end. “That’s when the awards rolled in. I bought my first house & knew…I was here to stay. 67 films later, here I am. That’s the thing about dreams–when it comes to turning them into reality, the hardships don’t matter. What matters is the belief of that 9-year-old Bihari boy & nothing else,” Bajpayee said.