The Hindi film industry has faced a lot of criticism, especially since the demise of Sushant Singh Rajput, for differentiating between outsiders and insiders. Manoj Bajpayee, who is one of the celebrities who has criticized the industry for this, recently opened up about his own struggles as an 'outsider' who realized his dream of being an actor. He also revealed that he came very close to suicide when he was rejected by the National School of Drama.
Speaking to Humans of Bombay, Manoj recalled when he knew that acting was his destiny. "I'm a farmer's son - I grew up in a small village in Bihar with 5 siblings, and we went to a hut school there. We led a simple life, but whenever we went to the city, we'd go to the theatre. I was a big Amitabh Bachchan fan - I wanted to be just like him. I was 9, but I knew that acting was my destiny," he said.
He added, "But I couldn't even afford to dream, so I continued my schooling. But my mind refused to focus on anything but acting, so at 17, I left my village to go to Delhi University."
Manoj's father was supportive towards his dream. The actor shared, "There, I delved into theatre but my family had no idea. Finally, I wrote a letter to dad and told him that I wanted to be an actor. He wasn't angry - instead he sent me 200 Rupees to cover my fees! People back home called me 'bhaand' and 'good for nothing' but I turned a blind eye."
Talking about his struggles, he said, "I was an outsider, trying to fit in. So I began to teach myself English and Hindi - Bhojpuri was a big part of the Hindi I spoke. I then applied to NSD, but was rejected thrice - I've never come as close to committing suicide as I did then. My friends were scared - they would sleep next to me and not leave me alone. They encouraged me to keep going, until finally, I was accepted."
Manoj also revealed how he got cast in Shekhar Kapur's Bandit Queen. "That year, I was nukkad chai shop when I saw my friend Tigmanshu coming on his khatara scooter, looking for me - Shekhar Kapur wanted to cast me in Bandit Queen! Thinking that I was finally ready, I moved to Mumbai," he said.
Manoj was last seen in the Netflix film, Mrs. Serial Killer, starring Jacqueline Fernandez in the lead.