Where you can be yourself and be at peace can be called the best holiday destination, says the Japanese artist
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OT: What do you love and/or hate about travelling?
Manoj Bajpai: I don’t like travelling much actually, as I hate flying. What I do like about it, though, is that it is a great way to experience different cultures and get to know the world. But, honestly, travelling always stresses me out.
OT: Any special childhood holidays...
Manoj Bajpai: I belong to a very small village in Bihar called Belwa, and my father couldn’t afford to take us on holidays. But I do remember a school trip very vividly. It was to Delhi and Kashmir. I was in Class VII then.
OT: And your first shoot — do you remember it?
Manoj Bajpai: It was in Dholpur for Bandit Queen at the beginning of 1993. The city, as you know, is part of the Chambal Ghati, infamous for its bandits, and I managed to meet a fair number of them. I have been told the bandits have disappeared now.
OT: Where did you shoot your latest film, Chittagong?
Manoj Bajpai: We shot the entire movie in Lataguri, a small village-town near Jalpaiguri in North Bengal. As it lies near two national parks — Gorumara and Chapramari — we got a chance to see several wild elephants and bisons. This was in the winter of 2011.
OT: Which of your films ‘framed’ its location best?
Manoj Bajpai: I think the way Satya captured Mumbai, no other movie before, or even after, has managed to do.
OT: Where was your last vacation?
Manoj Bajpai: I travelled to London with my wife and daughter for a fortnight in September last year. I really like that city as I find its history is still alive; they haven’t let modern architecture wipe out the city’s old-world charm.
OT: Any travel disasters?
Manoj Bajpai: Oh yes, many actually. The last one was on our trip to London. We had booked an apartment on the Internet. But when we reached there, we realised it was not as good as the site had promised. We decided to stay, though, because we had paid upfront.
OT: Do your wife and you share the same ideas about what a holiday should be like?
Manoj Bajpai: Yes, we do, thankfully. While we look to explore and experience new things, creature comforts are just as important to both of us.
OT: Five things you always carry with you...
Manoj Bajpai: Wallet, credit card, passport, medicine, laptop.
OT: What do you like to read when you travel?
Manoj Bajpai: Only scripts. I carry a load of them.
OT: Where would you like to go next?
Manoj Bajpai: Two places: New Zealand, as I have heard a lot about how beautiful it is; and Iceland, to experience what it’s like to have no separation between day and night. Besides, I am told that Iceland, like other Scandinavian countries, is very serene.
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