Gali Guleiyan: In the Shadows with Manoj Bajpai

New Delhi, December 16: Renowned actor and Padma Shri awardee, Manoj Bajpayee’s memorable character roles have always struck a chord with both fans and critics alike. Films such as Satya, Shool, and Special 26 have cast a spell on a wide-ranging audience. Despite his accolades, he always seeks to challenge himself with new roles and work with visionary filmmakers. Dipesh and Shuchi Jain’s film ‘Gali Guleiyan’ is yet another testament to Manoj’s singular talent, an artistic tour-de-force that takes his acting genius to new heights. The film was released in the theatres on 7th September 2018. The film was finally released on the OTT platform in October 2022.

Despite the challenges involved in bringing the film to the OTT platform, ‘Gali Guleiyan’ is trending on Amazing Prime Video to rave reviews. This is a remarkable feat for a film that saw a theatrical release four years ago.

Comparisons to Heath Ledger’s role in ‘The Dark Knight’ and Martin Scorsese’s ‘Shutter Island’

“I lived on the sets for days, had a sudden weight loss & almost lost my mental stability; we had to stop shooting.” Manoj Bajpayee talks about one of his most challenging roles as an actor in the film Gali Guleiyan.

The preparation for Manoj Bajpayee’s role has already drawn comparisons in the media circles to Heath Ledger’s tedious undertaking for his portrayal of The Joker in ‘Dark Knight Returns.’ Akin to Heath Ledger, Manoj also isolated himself from friends and family to immerse himself in the role. He was on the verge of losing his mental stability and experienced weight loss while shooting that eerily recalls the sleep troubles Heath Ledger developed while shooting for his Joker character.

Netizens are going gaga over Gali Guleiyan and have drawn the following comparisons on Twitter:

@bajpayeemanoj went through challenging phase prepping for #galiguleiyan similar to what #heathledger as he prepped for #Joker.

Each scene of the movie is unreal.

#DipeshJain @Shuchijain #ManojBajpayee #GaliGuleiyanOnPrime

Gali Guleiyan (In the Shadows): The Film

“This film truly falls into a noir genre which encompasses all the aspects of mental health too! Not only it challenged me as an actor but it also made me understand the mind of the person who is going through a deeply wounded mental trauma! It’s easier said than done when it comes to performing these characters! As an actor, you should be ready to be bruised deeply once the film shoot is over!” Manoj Bajpayee.

Gali Guleiyan (In the Shadows) released in theatres across India on 7th September 2018 is a journey into the realms of internal and external claustrophobia. Manoj Bajpayee poignantly immerses himself in the character of Khuddoos, a victim of childhood trauma. His entrapment via the myriad of layers within himself and the city he lives is highly expected to leave the audience enthralled.

Meanwhile, the film Gali Guleiyan in itself evokes the darkness and psychological drama exhibited in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Shutter Island.’ The parallel story plot lines dwelling both in the past and the present were used in both films. If ‘Shutter Island’ used military bases and lighthouses to portray a sense of a mental trap, filmmakers Dipesh Jain & Shuchi Jain used Old Delhi’s city and alleyways to portray a sense of being caught in a maze, physically and mentally.

To cinematically portray how the shadows of the past come to haunt and reflect on one’s immediate surroundings demand attention to minute details of visual storytelling. Through Gali Guleiyan, filmmakers Dipesh and Shuchi Jain wanted to capture the essence of Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi. Dipesh remarks that the seeds of the story for Gali Guleiyan were sown during his childhood days in Old Delhi. Once while returning home after buying a loaf of bread for his grandfather, he could not locate his way back home. He started meandering through the alleyways, lost for about half an hour. This idea of someone who is lost within the city walls and stuck in a maze forms the basis of one part of this film. The other half explores the condition of being trapped in one’s mind due to childhood trauma and how he seeks to be free.

Cinema lovers took to Twitter to appreciate the brilliant cinematic portrayal of the film Gali Guleiyan calling it at par with films like Shutter Island.

@BajpayeeManoj performance in #GaliGuleiyan is being compared to the same level of intensity as that of #LeonardoDiCaprio’s performance in  #ShutterIsland #DipeshJain @Shuchijain_

Gali Guleiyan’s Filmmakers: Dipesh Jain and Shuchi Jain

An award-winning, critically acclaimed film with an official selection in over 20 film festivals worldwide. Gali Guleiyan premiered at the 22nd Busan International Film Festival in 2017. It was released in India in 2018 but struggled to get released on an OTT platform. After four years of struggle, the film was finally released on Amazon Prime in October 2022.

The film stars Manoj Bajpayee, Ranvir Shorey, Neeraj Kabi, Shahana Goswami and debutant Om Singh. The film is a psychological drama about a man, Khuddoos, trapped within the city walls and his mind. He attempts to break free to find a human connection.

Written, directed & produced by Dipesh Jain, Director’s Guild of America (DGA) Student Award recipient and a graduate of the University of Southern California Film School. His thesis film at the University of Southern California,’11 Weeks’ were screened in theatres across America, Australia, and Mexico. His films have won accolades in prestigious International and National film festivals such as Berlin, IFFI, Madhouse Entertainment, and Sundance to name a few. Gali Guleiyan is Dipesh Jain’s first major feature film, and getting Manoj Bajpayee to act in his movie was no small feat. Dipesh predominantly intends to make character-driven films.

Shuchi Jain is a London-based producer, who has produced shorts and features in India, the UK, and the US. Her first produced short 11 WEEKS screened at many international festivals. And won awards including Director’s Guild of America (DGA) student, Alfred P. Sloan, and the Carole Fielding Award.

Shuchi aims to produce films that have an international appeal. Her feature film, Gali Guleiyan – In the Shadows was a Finalist at the Sundance Screenwriting Lab and premiered at the Busan International Film Festival. Nominated for the Australian Academy Awards (AACTA), the film played at many prestigious international film festivals including Munich, Chicago, Cleveland, Dubai, Mumbai MAMI, and Melbourne besides winning awards. It was released in India to critical acclaim.

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