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How Manoj Bajpayee was driven to the brink of breakdown while filming his most disturbing role in Gali Guleiyan


As one of the most talented actors in , Manoj Bajpayee is known for delving deep into complex, emotionally taxing roles. However, his unforgettable portrayal of the lonely man Khuddoos in the critically acclaimed film Gali Guleiyan took such a tremendous mental toll that it nearly resulted in a nervous breakdown. On the actor's birthday, let's revisit how this gritty role became his most challenging to date.

Set within the narrow alleyways of Old Delhi, Gali Guleiyan tells the story of Khuddoos, a man living in isolation following a troubled past. Separated from society, he observes the lives of his neighbors through a network of surveillance cameras. When Khuddoos witnesses the physical abuse of a young boy by his father, deep-seated childhood memories are triggered. He takes the boy under his wing, seeking to protect the innocence he never had.

To inhabit such a mentally disturbed character for the entire film proved an arduous task even for Bajpayee's experienced abilities. Relying heavily on non-verbal acting, he immersed himself so totally in Khuddoos' psyche that the lines between fiction and reality blurred. By the 26th day of shooting, Bajpayee had reached a breaking point. He confessed to the director that he was hearing voices and in danger of a breakdown. Sleeping medications were needed to allow his mind some respite.

In interviews, the devoted actor shared how fully embodying Khuddoos' loneliness and past traumas pushed him to his limit. He stopped seeing himself as a husband or father, speaking to himself as the character would. His wife grew concerned for his wellbeing. It was undoubtedly Bajpayee's most physically and emotionally taxing role to date. Though met with critical acclaim, the film's disturbing themes made it an underseen gem for years. As one of Bollywood's finest actors, Bajpayee deserves recognition for this unflinchingly dark portrayal that nearly consumed him.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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