Manoj Bajpayee Feels So-Called ‘Mainstream Filmmakers’ Are Scared Of KGF Chapter 2 & Other South Hits: “Hamari Upper Middle Class Ka Hero NRI Ban Gaya Tha”
The rise in popularity of South cinema is rapidly taking over, on the other hand, Bollywood is getting criticised for remaking films from their industry. After nepotism, this is the hottest topic currently among netizens. Talking about the success of recent blockbusters like, Pushpa, RRR and KGF Chapter 2, Manoj Bajpayee claims that these films have sent shivers down the spine of top B-Town filmmakers.
Before making big in the entertainment industry, Bajpayee started his acting career doing minor roles. Later, he came into the spotlight after working in Kaun, Shool, Satya and many more. A few years back, the actor ventured into the digital space with Amazon Prime Video’s The Family Man.
Coming back to the topic, Manoj Bajpayee in a recent chat with Delhi Times spoke about the success of recent South Indian films like Pushpa, RRR And KGF Chapter 2, he told, “Itni blockbuster ho rahi hai (from the south)… forget about Manoj Bajpayee and the likes of me for a minute, it has sent a shiver down the spine of all the mainstream filmmakers from the Mumbai film industry. They really don’t know where to look.”
Explaining further, Manoj Bajpayee shares, “They are unapologetic, they are passionate, and every shot they take as if they are taking the best shot in the world. And so much thought and passion goes into it. Not even once do they talk about the audience in a demeaning way. They don’t say that the audience will understand. ‘Yeh massy hai, yeh chal jayega’ – they never talk in this language. They shoot a film as they have envisioned it, they don’t dumb it down for the audience because they hold their audience in the highest regard and their passion is supreme.”
“If you see Pushpa or RRR or KGF, the making of it – it is immaculate. Each and every frame is actually shot in a manner as if it were a life and death situation. This is what we lack. We started thinking about mainstream films only in terms of money and box office. Hum criticise nahi kar sakte na apne aap ko. So hum unko ‘different’ keh kar alag kar denge. But it’s a lesson. This is a lesson for Mumbai industry mainstream filmmakers on how to make mainstream cinema,” he adds.
Speaking about the success of South actors, Manoj Bajpayee says that our multiplex audiences who are hailing their actors now were already superstars in B and C cities.
“Do you know that Ram Charan and Junior NTR and Allu Arjun and Pawan Kalyan were already stars in the B, C cities before their recent films became big hits? Their older films were already being watched in a dubbed version in all the interior places. Those were the films which were actually satisfying the B, C cities of this country. But we were satisfied with the multiplexes and popcorn films thinking that we are making the best mainstream cinema which is reaching everyone. No, it was not reaching everyone.”
“That section – the audience of the smaller cities, the single screens – was really not entertained. They (mainstream Bollywood) stopped addressing those viewers. When multiplexes become very expensive and far away from their (audiences’) reach, then who is their star? Who is entertaining them all this while? For you, as a person who buys a ticket in a multiplex in Delhi, when you see RRR, Junior NTR is someone you have seen for the first time – but not for the viewers in the B,C cities. They have already seen him,” Manoj Added.
Manoj Bajpayee concludes by saying, “Someone told me before RRR’s release – ‘Bhaiyya, aap Junior NTR aur Ram Charan ko le kar chale jaiye Haryana ke kisi gaon mein, woh aaj bhi mob ho jayenge. Aap ka (Bollywood) superstar wahan mob nahi hoga kyunki woh audience unki filmein nahi dekhte hain. Woh inki filmein dekhte hai, dubbed version.’ Upper middle class ko jab hero mila, aur multiplex bhi usi waqt aaye, uske baad humne ye space miss kar diya. Lekin multiplex mein jana sabke bas ki baat rahi nahi. Ab Zanjeer, Naseeb, Khalnayak kahan banti hai? Ya Vishwanath? Kalicharan? Hamari upper middle class ka hero NRI ban gaya tha. Upper middle class ka aspiration woh raha. The successful huge megastars that we have created – they were not megastars of B, C cities.”
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