Always chosen indie dramas over mega budget films: Manoj Bajpayee

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Melbourne : Manoj Bajpayee, who features in first-time director Dipesh Jain's "Gali Guleiyan" -- the gritty trailer of which came out on Saturday -- says he has always chosen independent movies over big budget entertainers as it is his comfort zone.

Just the content is what attracts him to films, Manoj told IANS here while he was at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) where he won the Best Actor Award for his performance in "Gali Guleiyan".

"I have done many films with all the newcomers. Though I have had the choice of working with all the established ones but I chose all these filmmakers over so-called established filmmakers and chose these independent films over the offers of mega budget films because this is what I always wanted to do, and this is what I feel comfortable doing," he added.

The widely acclaimed and awarded actor said independent movies allow him a certain freedom.

"This is where I feel I can express myself, I can utilise myself, and somewhere I feel I can break so many limitations of mine while doing these films and when I am performing these characters. And though these films have not fetched the big numbers, these are what I have made a career out of.

"So, today it has been over 20 years in this industry and I am doing what I wanted to do... Films like 'Gali Guleiyan', 'Aligarh', 'Gangs of Wasseypur'... I would say God is giving me all the right things for me to feel proud of myself," Manoj said.

"Gali Guleiyan" has travelled to several film festivals and won accolades.

"It all started with an email and this film has reached here... Sometimes, God is really kind and pushes right things towards you and it is upto you to mark those as right things and grab it. These words have just been true," he said of the movie, which will release in theatres worldwide on September 7.

Its trailer underlines Manoj's heart-wrenching portrayal of a man (named Khuddus) trapped within the walls and alleys of Old Delhi and his own mind. He attempts to break free to find a human connection.

The movie features an ensemble cast of actors like Ranvir Shorey, Neeraj Kabi and Shahana Goswami, along with debutant child actor Om Singh. Shot entirely on locations, Gali Guleiyan is directed by the Los Angeles-based Jain.

Manoj has said he plays one of his most complex roles ever in this movie.

"The film promises to be an immersive cinematic experience, where the audience will themselves feel the psychological aspects of the story," he said in a statement.

For Jain, the film is in many ways an ode to his growing up years in the alleys of Old Delhi -- "to my personal fears and a feeling of entrapment that I had experienced as a child".