Character actors not treated well: Manoj Bajpai

Mumbai: Actor Manoj Bajpai, who shot to fame with the role of Bhiku Mhatre in Ram Gopal Varma`s `Satya` over a decade ago and has portrayed a variety of roles so far, feels that character actors are not treated well in Bollywood.

The actor, who was last seen opposite Amitabh Bachchan in `Aarakshan`, is ready with his next release `Lanka`.

"In Bollywood, character actors are not treated well, they are not even paid well and are treated as a second citizen. I would rather be in my territory and rule it," he told PTI.

The actor says he is aware that he has an unconventional face. "I always wanted to play different roles from the day I decided that I want to be an actor. I also know I have a very unconventional face…I mean I know my limitations and I also know what I am good at. I am someone, who loves to experiment with new genres and roles," he said.

"As an actor, it is very important that I approach each role differently and with focus. I always make sure that I understand the character properly and try to execute it in the best possible way," the 42-year-old actor said.

He further said that if the role captivates his attention for more than two hours, while he is reading about it, he readily accepts it. "But it`s not very often that I get to read such roles. The role should challenge my acting skills and Vikram Bhatt offered me one such role in `Lanka`," he said.

About the term `negative characters`, he said, "We call them villains of the film. I don`t like playing a negative character, as I don`t believe in it. Grey characters are very close to real life. They are human beings, like any other common man in the world. They have good, as well as bad qualities in them, so that`s why, we call them grey characters. Grey characters look more real and believable."

Speaking about `Lanka` that is scheduled for a release on December 9, in which, he shares the screen space with Arjan Bajwa and Tia Bajpai, Manoj said it as a palace of religion and a palace of exploitation. "Ravan was a very religious person, but he was known for imposing his will on others. He was known as a pinnacle of misuse of power. This film is a modern adaptation of Ramayana and my character is similar to Ravan," he said.

"My character in `Lanka` is inspired from Ravan`s character in the Ramayana. He is wise and he loves his city, He is loving, caring, powerful and confident of what he wants in life. The only mistake my character makes is he falls in love with someone, who doesn`t love him back," the actor said.
The movie is directed by debutante Maqbool Khan and produced by Vikram Bhatt.

Manoj admits that he is not comfortable talking about himself. "I want people to talk about me and my work and so I try and give my best in whatever I do. My teachers and my parents always taught me not to talk about myself and let others know what you are and let them say good thing about you and I am following that advice," he said.

The actor, who started his career with TV with Mahesh Bhatt`s serial `Swabhimaan`, says he would love to be part of the small screen again, "But I cannot do fiction, as it is very time-consuming, you work on deadlines daily. Maybe, I will think of doing a fiction show, if I stop getting films," he said.

The actor expressed confidence that given a chance, he can prove to be a good anchor. "I would love to host a show if given an opportunity and I know I will do it well," he said.