Dharamshala: Rejection at the National School of Drama made him suicidal, but after over two decades in the film industry Manoj Bajpayee says he has started enjoying the "insult" of listening to the word 'no'.
The 49-year-old actor believes the initial rejections he faced have made him practical and motivated him to work harder.
"I have realised that rejection is nothing but a sign that one needs to work hard. Rejection is not negative it makes you look at things very realistically and practically. I have started enjoying the rejection, misery and the whole insult of hearing 'no' from people.
"It gives me strength to knock the door harder next time. I believe it depends how you look at it. I won't say you are not suppose to feel sad or dejected, but what matters is how better you come out of it," Bajpayee told PTI.
The critically-acclaimed actor adds that while he is a "hardcore optimist", he feels dejected at times.
"When you fall there is pain, but how quickly you get over that pain and move ahead is key," he says.
Bajpayee, however, says empty theatres still scare him.
"That fear still exists because it comes true most of the times. I am so used to having less or no audience. But in all of this the great positive I find is that just because of the kind of journey I had I manage to get over any low easily. That is one positive I derive from this process."
He says his only assurance is the dedicated set of audience, who appreciates and understands his cinema.
"The thing that keeps me motivated is the audience which likes my work. I know if my film is in the theatre, the audience I have will not decrease. I am not sacred of losing the viewers I have earned. The aim is to increase the number.
"The future can't be worse than this. It is getting better and better. It is just that I need more people who are as stubborn as me," Bajpayee says.
The actor believes to maintain the fan base, it is important for an actor to give a personal touch to his characters.
"I feel my audience enjoy watching me on screen because they can relate to me. They can see a personal side of me in the character. I get a lot of me on the screen.
"I derive a lot of elements which are hidden in me. I try to be truthful to myself and to my audience. To look at that, one needs to be brave," he says.
Bajpayee was at Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) where his film "Bhonsle" was screened.