While speaking to Pankaj Tripathi the super-talented actor said to me, “ Manoj Bajpai is an example to all of us actors who came after him through the offbeat neo-realistic route. He proved that real talent will find its level.All of us like Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Jaydeep Ahlawat and Vijay Varma are here because he showed us the way.”
It was therefore surprising to read in a recent interview that Manoj Bajpai “envied” actors like Nawazuddin, Pankaj, Jaideep and Rajkummar Rao, and that he was jealous of them.
I reached out to Manoj Bajpai for a clarification and he said, “I didn’t mean I envied them for their talent. Of course they are all talented and it is my good fortune that they all respect me so much. I think they are fantastic actors. But I am not jealous of any actor in the world. Because I am happy with what I have, and I want to maximize my potential before I get older.”
It is the age-factor that Manoj Bajpai envies in his younger colleagues. “They have time on their side. Success and a kind of stardom has come early to them whereas I am now in my 50s. I’ve some years to go. But I don’t want to overstay my welcome.Before the audience gets bored of me I want to do good work . These are my best years.”
Manoj says he will quit before fatigue sets in. “Before the audience gets tired of me and I get tired of facing the camera I want to retire,do the things I couldn’t because of my jampacked schedules, travel to places I haven’t seen , spend time with my family, watch the films that I’ve been lining up for years. Yes, there is life beyond cinema for me. But later.”