Gulmohar is a family drama, everyone can relate to it: Bajpayee

- March 18, 2023
| By : Santosh Mehta |

The Padma Shri Awardee says he plays the role of Sharmila Tagore's son in the movie and is effusive in his praise of the director

Picture perfect: Manoj Bajpayee stands in front of the poster of his upcoming movie Gulmohar

Actor Manoj Bajpayee, a Padma Shri Awardee who has won two National film awards as well as four Filmfare awards, will soon be seen in the upcoming film Gulmohar.
The 53-year-old actor, who has acted in films like Rajneeti, Gangs of Wasseypur and Satya spoke to Patriot on his upcoming flick.

Q: What kind of story is Gulmohar?
A: Gulmohar is a family drama and the story is written and directed by Rahul Chittella, who has worked with famous film-maker Mira Nair as an assistant. But the screen-play is written by Arpita Mukherjee, a model-turned-actress. Gulmohar tells the story of mysteries of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow. Even though this film pulls together unique storylines of two different families, it’s a touching story and everyone can relate to it. The story is based on the Batra family, who are going to vacate their 34-year-old family home and this sudden change in their lives leads to rediscovery.

Q: Would you like to tell something about the cast in Gulmohar?
A: Yes, I am working with a bunch of famous stars such as Sharmila Tagore, Amol Palekar, Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi), Kaveri Seth and Simran. I have enjoyed working with all these actors.

Q: Please share your experience working with Rahul Chittella, the director of Gulmohar?
A: I can say that director Rahul Chettella has done great work. In other words, I am impressed with his great job in handling direction. He has done a masterful job of looking into separate equations. He has a very sophisticated view of how people connect. My role and that of Sharmila Tagore gave him much pleasure. As an actor, I can say that Rahul’s great direction, along with script and the plot, make this a beautiful film.

Q: What’s your role in Gulmohar?
A: I am acting as Arun, a son in the Batra family, who is caught off-guard by a decision made by mother Kusum (Sharmila Tagore). In other words, I can say that I am playing the role of a son of actress Sharmila Tagore in Gulmohar. Being a son, I have my own responsibilities towards my mother.

CINE PAIR: Manoj Bajpayee and wife Shabana Raza attend Disney Hotstar’s movie screening Gulmohar last month in Mumbai (Photo by Getty Images)

Q: Would you like to share your experience working with the famous film personality Sharmila Tagore?
A: I am very pleased to work with Sharmila Tagore, a brilliant actress who is also world famous. As an actor, I am fortunate to get such an opportunity and am blessed to be associated with her.

Q: You have also been connected with the Smile Foundation for a long time. Would you like to tell something about the Smile Foundation and its children, who have acted in Satyamev Jayate with you?
A: Yes. It’s a pleasure to be associated with the Smile Foundation, which works for children’s education. One of their children Jaya Chourasiya has featured in the song and she felt fortunate to be part of that film. The movie brought a smile on her parent’s face, she told me. It was her first experience in films and the experience of getting clicked with actors in front of big cameras was great.

Q: What was it like meeting these children?
A: It was very interesting to meet these children. It’s been a memorable experience.

These children are fantastic stars! They are not restricted by boundaries. They are free. They are talented as well. They are the best actors.

Q: Would you like to share your experience while shooting for Satyamev Jayate?
A: Shooting in a Bollywood film is not as easy as common people think. I still recall that while shooting for Satyamev Jayate, John Abraham got injured. But he did not stop the shooting. As an actor one has to take risks. In one of my earlier films, I had got injured in the shoulder.Credit also has to go to director Milap Zaveri, who has helped me understand the particular role and helped me with the right accent to speak those dialogues. Therefore, I enjoyed it a lot, and there was no tension at all.

Q: As an actor, why don’t you focus more on children’s films?
A: I have done children’s movies. Everyone can see Budhia, which is based on children. A little athlete does a great job. I have shown this film to my daughter also, and she loved it. After watching this film, she wants me to get her a football and she wants to play football.

Q: What kind of challenges and hardships does one face while acting?
A: Being an actor is not as easy as people generally think. People think that being an actor is glamorous. But the reality is different. During the shoot, you have to run. You have to cross fire and so on. It is especially difficult for women. You have to wear sari in winter, you have to work in hot weather where the temperature may be 45 degrees Celsius. You have to work close to the sea, where there is humidity and your hair gets messy, and so on.

Q: Was becoming an actor a conscious decision?
A: Yes. I love cinema and have a passion for films. I always believe that one should not do anything against his wishes. If anyone has a dream, one can follow it.

Q: Share some of your childhood memories with our readers!
A: I still remember when I used to attend school in my village, our teachers used to celebrate the Independence Day and distribute toffees, sweets, and laddoos! But sadly, this spirit is gone now. People celebrate it just like any holiday, but not as a special day.

BOND: Sharmila Tagore and Manoj Bajpayee in Gulmohar (Photo by Getty Images)

Q: How do you recall your role as DCP Vinayak?
A: It is true that my role as DCP Vinayak got appreciated among the audience and I still remember my performance which got me good feedback. The only problem was climbing a steep staircase that was very tiring.

Q: Who do you admire in films?
A: I have been a great admirer of noted film director Ram Gopal Verma. He is one film-maker, who has made the maximum impact on Indian cinema for over 20 years.

Q: How do you unwind?
A: I love my little daughter and always try to spend time with her and wife Neha.

Q: How do you like Delhi?
A: I have had lot of memories from my stay in Delhi. I have friends who I meet some time and love the atmosphere of the National School of Drama (NSD). I never forget those interesting memories and the days I spent in Delhi before shifting to Mumbai.