Nawazuddin Siddiqui says he didn’t take Manoj Bajpayee seriously when they first met: ‘He was playing a koala in a play’

Nawazuddin Siddiqui said the drama with Manoj Bajpayee happened long before the Family Man actor started Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen.

Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin SiddiquiNawazuddin Siddiqui talks about the time he did a play with Manoj Bajpayee. (Photo: Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui/Instagram)

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Years before their paths crossed in filmmaker Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui met Manoj Bajpayee while working on a play in which they were playing oddball roles – a tree and a koala respectively. Nawazuddin recalled that Manoj played the lead role in the play, while he and Vijay Raaz played the roles of trees.

In an interview with Mashable India, Nawazuddin said that the play took place long before Manoj Bajpayee came on board with Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen in 1994. It was only after watching the film that Nawaz came to know how talented Manoj is.

“I did a play with Manoj bhai. At that time, he was not so famous. He was popular in the theater circuit. I got a part in that play and came to know that the lead role was played by Manoj Bajpayee. After that he got Bandit Queen and then I came to know who Manoj Bajpayee is! First of all we are taking them (Earlier I was taking him lightly). He was however known in the theater circuit, and was among the top five best actors of that time,” he said.

Nawazuddin narrated a funny story from his time in the drama and said that The Family Man star was naughty. “Vijay Raj and I used to stand like trees for two and a half hours! And Manoj bhai was so mischievous, he was playing the role of a koala and a jungle was made on the stage – where the men would be the trees. So, as a koala, he could come over and scratch himself and we would feel tickled but we couldn’t even laugh. Do mischief of this date. He added.

Manoj Bajpayee will star in ZEE5’s Sirf Ek Banda Koffee Hai while Nawazuddin awaits the release of his next feature, Jogira Sara Ra Ra, co-starring Neha Sharma.

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First published: 20-05-2023 at 19:51 IST

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