Manoj Bajpayee on his approach to acting in a comedy film and on giving his voice to the tragedy of labourers during the nationwide lockdown.
Q. You enjoy a reputation as an intense actor. Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari is a comedy, a genre you are not associated with much.
I enjoy watching slapstick films but doing silly things to make people laugh doesn’t come naturally to me. This film is different from others in that we are not playing to the gallery. The director just wanted me to be in character, which is what I do with my other roles.
Q. They say the toughest job for an actor is to make the audience laugh. Do you concur?
From Charlie Chaplin to Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler, I have complete admiration and respect for them. You need a genius mind, skill and hard work to perform the way they do. The film has given me the chance to be part of a comedy where my preparation is as intense as any other drama I do.
Q. You hope that with Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari, which is getting a theatrical release, audiences have some fun after an extended grim period. What kept you going in the past six months?
When you have a family, you are distracted from the outside world. If you have a little one, you’re all the more busy. My daughter is quite a handful. This period has given our family a chance to spend time to understand each other more deeply.
Q. You recently tried your hand at Bhojpuri rap.
Anubhav Sinha sent me a song seeking my opinion on it. Suddenly he wanted me to be a part of it. I am not a singer at all but I wanted to give voice to the tragedy of labourers during the nationwide lockdown. It was my way of being part of a worthwhile cause.