ETimes came into contact with Manoj Bajpayee who has collaborated with him on various projects. In an exclusive interview, Manoj reminisced about working with Asif, the last time he saw the late actor, and more. Fragments …
The shocking news of Asif Basra’s passing has once again turned Bollywood upside down …
It is very shocking to know that Asif is gone. We are still coming to terms with his loss. I have worked with him on a number of projects. The last thing I worked with him was on a web series. He was talking about staying in Dharamshala. He chose not to stay in Mumbai. He talked a lot about his house there. Now I found out that he died in the same place. I’m not exactly sure how it all happened, but it’s a very sinking feeling. I don’t know how to respond to this.
How did you find out about this?
I found out when I was checking Twitter and suddenly this news started popping up. I was completely surprised.
When did you last meet him?
I was working with him on a web series just before the lockdown. He was such a happy person. He was always smiling and joking. I can’t believe he’s gone.
Did you have contact with him during the lockdown?
I wasn’t exactly in touch with him. He was someone I worked with. However, we have never hung out that much. We enjoyed being on set together. I loved his sense of humor. I loved that he came from a theater background. We shared great camaraderie on set.
What was Asif like as an actor and as a person?
He was a brilliant actor. There is no doubt about it. He had a theater background. He had so much experience. He had a great understanding of his trade and skill as an actor. As a person, he was a joyful person. He was peaceable, and that was one of the reasons he chose to stay in Dharamshala. Very few choose to stay outside of Mumbai. Big cities are losing their charm. It was a courageous step and I appreciated that he put his peace and happiness above everything else.
What are your fondest memories of him?
When we were filming for our web series, he broke between scenes when I was performing. He was uncontrollable. It was a serious scene but at the same time humorous in nature. We had lunch together and had long conversations about our profession, about the hills, about Mumbai and much more.
What will you miss most about him?
I will miss him completely as an actor and as a person. I will miss his smiling face that was not at all in love with the big city and the glamor. This is what he was. He was completely untouched by the city’s cosmopolitan nature and greed. He was completely at peace with himself. I don’t know why he took this step.
Are you planning to visit his family?
I will certainly try, but I don’t know where his family is. I’ll try to find out. In fact, many of us who knew him are already trying to connect with his family.