Interview: “Aiyaary is a thrilling story” – Manoj Bajpayee

Aiyaary UKActor Manoj Bajpayee will be seen in UK cinemas again this Friday. His latest outing Aiyaary revolves around two army officers, portrayed by Sidharth Malhotra as an army officer sharing a mentor-protégé bond with Bajpayee.

Directed by Neeraj Pandey, the film also stars Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah, Rakul Preet Singh and Pooja Chopra in lead roles.

The award-winning actor spoke to BollyNewsUK about his role in film, co-star Sidharth Malhotra and being on location in London.

What is Aiyaary all about?
It deals with the conflict of two generations. The ideas of patriotism between the two protagonists in the film keep on clashing. That takes the shape of a bigger conflict and a cat & mouse game of sorts. At the core of it, audiences will also experience how military personnel protect the country and national interest as well as the challenges they face. That makes quite a thrilling story.

It’s quite relevant as we see millennials clashing with the older generation worldwide when it comes to ideologies. Is that an aspect of the film which may have a broader appeal internationally?
A lot has changed in the last decade. The younger generation is much more exposed to the outside world. They have a spectrum of information on their fingertips. They also look at their country in a very different way and believe that certain actions are enough to bring about change. The older generation, perhaps, realises that a lot of efforts and sacrifices are needed to achieve something for one’s nation. The ideologies are bound to clash as experience and information will have a never-ending battle.

Manoj Bajpayee & Sidharth Malhotra-1

How was it like filming for Aiyaary in London?
We shot a major portion of the film London. My family was with me during the schedule and we all love London. My 7-year-old daughter loved being in the city and thoroughly enjoyed her stay. I was busy filming in various locations but was happy that my family was enjoying visiting historical places.

Was the experience of working with Neeraj Pandey in Aiyaary easier for you after Special 26?
We met many times much before ‘Special 26’ was made. I’ve always had great regard for him as a director after I saw ‘A Wednesday’. He has a remarkable gift of presenting a story to audiences. His storytelling resonates with all kind of audiences, and that makes him very unique. I’m grateful that he shows a lot of faith and belief in me as an actor.

Aiyaary Sidharth Manoj

Opposite to the friction seen on-screen, you connected well with Sidharth off-screen. How did you find working with him?
Sidharth is a lovely guy. He comes from a middle-class family in Delhi, where I’ve spent a lot of time. Our values are very much the same and we both relate to each other’s journey. He is a competitive guy and has made a mark in the industry whilst being an outsider. I have a lot of admiration for him.

Aiyaari PosterStudios and distributors are focusing on the Indian Box Office more than ever, whereas the international market has taken a backseat. Do you believe international territories still hold value, especially for smaller films?
It’s still an important market. We all want our films to break even or make profit, so that we can continue to work and all markets that help us reach that goal are important. We are not looking to hit a certain number at the Indian Box Office with this film but audiences coming to see Aiyaary should love the film. That is more important to us. Throughout the film, Neeraj Pandey was not well but we carried on. We believed in the film and were passionate about it and hopefully, audiences will be able to see it on-screen.

Presented by Reliance Entertainment and Plan C Studios, Aiyaary is a Friday Filmworks Productions and releases in UK cinemas on 16th February 2018.


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