With his stellar performances over the years, Manoj Bajpayee has time and again proved that he is one of the finest actors that Bollywood has ever seen.

In an old interview with affable Farooq Shaikh on the sets of Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai, the two-time National Award winner spoke at length about his fairytale story.

Here are some of the most iconic moments from the episode that made us learn a couple of things about the Padma Shri recipient that we didn’t know earlier. 

1. Born in Belwa, a small village in Bihar, he explained that it was nearly impossible to even dream something big at that time.

Jis samay main apne gaaon mein tha, aisa lagta tha jaise sapne dekhna bhi gunaah hai. Koi cheez haasil nahi ho paayegi.

2. His father revealed that he aspired to become an actor since his childhood.

Jab yeh school mein padhta tha, wahan bhi naatak karta tha. Ek drama isne bohot acha kiya wahan par aur wahin isse instigate kiya ki tum NSD chale jaao.

                    - Radhakant Bajpayee, Manoj Bajpayee’s Father

3. He revealed that despite not having even a single movie theatre in his village, he still developed an interest in acting.

Shuruwat mein mujhe Harivansh Rai Bachchan ji ki kavita padhne ke liye di thi stage par. Main jab bolke stage pe se utar raha tha aur tab jo taaliyan baji, who kambhakkt peecha hi nahi chodti thi. Bas aisa laga ki jaise yehi kaam hai jo main kar sakta hu.

4. It was also revealed that he used to have heart-to-heart conversations with his sisters about each other’s careers.

Aap humesha kehte the ki kuch bhi acha nahi ho raha hai. Koi hume nahi poochta. Hum humesha bolte the ki sab poochenge aapko. Ab toh kamaal hi ho gaya, aapke saath saath hume bhi log poochne lage.

                    - Kamini, Manoj Bajpayee's Sister

Jab maine office join kara tha toh roz main aapse bolti thi ki mujhe nahi karni yeh naukri. Aap mujhe roz samjhate the ki naukri nahi choddni hai jab tak boss ko yeh nahi pata chal jaaye ki tumhari ahmiyat kya hai. Ussi baat ki wajah se main aaj yahan pohochi hu.

                    - Poonam, Manoj Bajpayee's Sister

5. It was clear that he has been an amazing friend and confidant.

Dekho, kaise naatak karte karte tum filmo mein chale gaye. Dua hai ki tum tarakki karo.

                    - Raj Kumar Singh & Pawan, Manoj Bajpayee’s Friends

1986 mein mera brain surgery hua tha tab tum aur Pappu roz aate the university se aur raat ko wapas jaate the. Mujhe recover karane mein tum logo ne madad kiya tha.

                    - Sudhanshu, Manoj Bajpayee’s School Senior

 6. Upon being asked if he was ever interested in sports, he revealed that he used to play hockey during his school days.

 Hockey khelta tha par ab nahi khel paata hoon.

7. He also said that he holds a degree in History Honours.

Maine history honors liya hua tha. 1983 mein mera admission nahi hua tha Ramjas College mein. Wahin paas mein Satyawati College tha, wahan jaake maine admission liya.

8. Upon taking admission in college, he said that he met the professor of political science, who introduced him to street theatre and the art of reading.

Jab admission le liya toh wahan mujhe Shamsul Islam mile jo political science ke professor the. Un sahab ne mujhe mauka diya street threatre ka aur maine teen saal unhi ke saath guzaare.

9. It was revealed that his theatre journey started in Delhi with Barry John. 

I would like to take this opportunity to say how much I value the experience of working with you. You are a rare kind of actor and theatre worker. Your struggle is something very few actors know about.

                    - Barry John, British-Indian Theatre Director

10. He also revealed that he didn’t plan to become a movie actor when he was doing theatre.

Jab main Bihar se aaya tha toh yeh socha tha ki pehle theatre karunga aur fir Bombay jaaunga. Lekin jab ek baar ismein doobey, fir Bombay jaane ka sapna bhool chuka tha main aur Delhi mein hi rehna chahta tha.

11. He explained that it was Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen that made him change his mind about Bombay.

Bandit Queen ke baad aur Shekhar Kapur ji ke kehne pe, hum sab ke sab wahan se nikal gaye.
When I first met Manoj, I was looking for a very quiet man who could perform with very small gestures. When he started to perform, I thought this is exactly the man. When I saw him in Satya, I realised how great he was.

                    - Shekhar Kapur, Indian Film Director

12. He revealed that he sat in an aeroplane for the first time because of director Pankuj Parashar.

Ek din mujhe inke assistant ka call aaya aur unhone bola ki tum jitni jaldi ho sake utni jaldi Bombay aajao, ticket aapke paas pohoch jaayegi. Pehli baar hawaaijahaaz mein main inki wajah se baitha tha.

13. It was also revealed that he was super choosy when it came to work.

Hum ek casting ke liye saath gaye. Baat hui, role theek laga lekin uss time dignity of an actor aade aa gayi kyuki unhone paise bohot kam bataye the toh usko mana karke chal diye bahar.

                    - Ashok Purang, Manoj Bajpayee’s Friend

14. It was revealed that he is a straightforward man. 

Yeh seedha bolna pasand karte hai. Zaada gol-mol baatein, chaploosi aur idhar-udhar ki baatein inko jachta nahi hai.

                    - Harsh Chhaya, Actor

You can watch the entire interview here:

From Satya to Gangs of Wasseypur and Veer-Zaara, there’s no doubt that he is one of the finest actors of great calibre.

Note: all images are screenshots from the video on YouTube.