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Manoj Bajpai Looks back At The Year That Was

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Manoj Bajpai

2021 was an exceptional year for  Manoj Bajpai. He was   officially crowned the Family Man of India. The Amazon Prime show catapulted Manoj to the  position   of the topmost  OTT star.

Characteristically Manoj remains  unaffected . “I haven’t changed with  success or failure. Either way I’ve always been a very responsible actor. I take neither failure nor success too seriously. They are both part of the same  cycle of life  , and we have to accept both.  I’m taking the  compliments  and  praise coming my way with  a lot of humility . At the same time I am never bogged down by expectations  and  the responsibility. Every assignment of mine is equally  important to me. I have never differentiated between  big and small projects. To me they are all big.And I will continue  to be the same. I will  choose the  assignments  very carefully,  not to fulfil expectations but to satisfy the  hunger within me as an actor. I’ve told you this before: repetition is death  for me.”

At the same  time, Manoj admits  life has changed after the spectacular success  of  The Family Man. “I  admit I am receiving more praise  for this than ever before.I take  the compliments and  the criticism  with equal humility. I never get carried away by success. There are two ladies in my life to make sure I remain  grounded: my wife and daughter.If I strut around like  a  star they will probably  laugh so hard my balloon will be punctured.”

Family Man  2  in 2021 took Manoj’s  career  to another level  . But Manoj says he is just as  proud of his   other   OTT releases last  year  . “Silence…Can You Hear It?Dial 100 and Hungama Hai Kyon Barpat  from the Ray anthology on Netflix for which  both Gajraj Rao and I were  immensely  praised…these are all as precious  to me as  The Family Man. But let me tell you, 2022 is going to be  very different from the content I shot  for last year. So I am  looking forward  to   the coming year. June-July onwards in 2022,  all my new content  will start streaming. They are all my passion projects. So I am eager to see how audiences react to them.”

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How does Manoj manage to  remain so excited  about his work? “Yes I am very excited. I  continue  to be  enthused by my  work. It is a renewable  process. Every year I  make  sure I look forward to the following year by doing the work that I haven’t done earlier Luckily I am never short of options. I am lucky to have worked  with such brilliant directors in recent times  like  Devashish Makhija, Deepesh Jain and Abhishek  Chaubey.In fact  I am  now shooting  a  project with Abhishek Choubey. He  is  one of my  most favourite directors.He is among the finest filmmakers  in the country It’s  a privilege to be  directed  by him. I learn so much just by being on the set with  him The way he treats his actors, the way he helps actors get  all the nuances right…I’ve learnt  so much  from him.I am also  very happy for  Aban Deohans and Rensil d’Silva whose films with me Silence and  Dial 100 have done well.”

Manoj’s  other  significant  achievements  during the year?  “I  got  my National award for Bhonsle  and  also a Filmfare award for Family Man.I have just shot  three fantastic films directed   by Kanu Behl, Ram Reddy and Abhishek Choubey.Hopefully audiences will like me  in these, as I have  tried  to thingst hat I’ve never done before. I’d say these are significant moves ahead for me.”

Looking ahead, Manoj admits to a feeling  of  uncertainty because of the continuing Covid crisis. “Uncertainty unpredictability….have become the norm in  our lives.Whenever  I hear of another lockdown I become  really sad, because I want to keep working. I don’t want any of my work to be  pending. I don’t want  any backlog.I want  civilization  to  be saved. I want all of us to get back  to  our normal lives. I want the smiles to return on everyone’s   life.  The  road ahead  makes me sad. And also  a little nervous. So many directors are waiting  to start their films. When  I  look at their anxiety, I  get very sad.They don’t deserve this. No one  deserves this.”