Not denying that "financial security" for a theatre artist is still a far-fetched dream, actor Manoj Bajpayee said theatre is surviving in India just because of "some passionate individuals".
"Theatre here never got any patronage or mentorship. It is surviving just because of few passionate individuals. They are not getting any money whatsoever, but salute to their passion for dedicating themselves to the theatre in India," Bajpayee said.
Talking at the ongoing Bharat Rang Mahotsav, the annual theatre festival of National School of Drama, Bajpayee told theatre students that joining NSD or doing theatre is no "guarantee" for making it big in Mumbai film industry.
"This profession gives us no guarantee. Being from NSD, or some other reputed theatre group does not guarantee your career here. It's a different world altogether in Mumbai.
"But, yes if you have that passion for your art, and you are doing it without any greed in your mind; then nothing can stop you from excelling," he added.
Bajpayee was denied admission in the drama school "thrice", in retrospective he sees it as a blessing in disguise.
"Not making into NSD after several attempts, I thought probably I am the one lacking somewhere.
"And that is what egged me to double the amount of hard work I used to put earlier. This repetition, indeed, helped me in maintaining my intensity," he said.
Calling himself a "director's actor", Bajpayee believes, be it in a movie or theatre, the director is "supreme" as ultimately the "project is their baby".
"I follow my director. He is the one with the vision. As an actor, one should only extend his thought, and never negate," said the 47-year-old actor.
The National award-winning actor talked about the technique of getting into the skin of the character, he said wearing a character is very important, but the real art lies in "getting out of the character".
"I always believe characterisation is the most important job of an actor. But then it does not end with getting into the skin of the character, it ends when you successfully get out of that character. Now, that is one skill to work on," he added.
Not of the opinion that majority of the theatre artists do theatre just to "make a mark in Bollywood", the actor said it is about whether you look at "train going to Mumbai" or "train coming from Mumbai".
"I guess the very reason of anyone forming such opinion is that they are simply looking at the trains leaving for Mumbai, and not vice-versa.
"People are also coming from Mumbai, and going to different cities to do theatre. We just need to look and appreciate that side," he noted.