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I am nothing in front of a Bollywood star: Manoj Bajpai

The 44-year-old actor does not find himself fitting in the "star" image but he has been delivering hits in the commercial space of Bollywood with films like "Raajneeti" and "Special 26". "I don't boast that I am a star. I am nothing in front of a star. 

Manoj Bajpai
Pic/Sameer Markande

A star can bring in huge collections, create fan frenzy... I don't do that kind of movies to have a fan following. I am not a celebrity but a mere actor trying to justify his acting skills," Bajpai told PTI in an interview. The actor shot to fame by playing the anti-hero Bhikhu Mhatre and went on to win two National awards for "Satya" and "Pinjar" in 1994 and 2004 respectively. But, he suffered a slump after that, only to find a resurrection in Prakash Jha directed "Raajneeti" in 2010.

Bajpai has no regrets about getting a late recognition for his talent and has reconciled himself to the fickle nature of film industry. "People look for opportunities to run you over. Despite winning two National Awards and doing some good work... I still had to face bad time but the thing is you cannot evade it. So the important thing is to not get bogged down and enjoy," Bajpai added.

Bajpai's upcoming movie "Satyagraha", again directed by Jha, is another much-awaited performance from him. He plays a comical-villain named Balram Singh in the Amitabh Bachchan starrer political thriller.

Through the uprising of the middle class against a corrupt and unjust system, the film somewhere tries to portray today's India. "Our job is to show a movie which in some ways touches people's senses. We don't make movies to start a movement amongst people, that is not our work to do. We just make exciting movies which people think is worth their money," Bajpai said.

He insists despite doing some good work, there is still a pressure to do something better with each film. "Sometimes I still get frustrated with what I am doing and what I want to do. I don't understand what am I dying for.

There is a pressure when you are doing good work also," he says. Bajpai used to wait for that one good movie to prove the critics who wrote him off wrong, but the actor says he has now realised that opinion change every Friday so he has stopped bothering about it. "I have realised now... This is how the industry works, people are fickle minded. They are just waiting to write you off.

Opinions change with every movie and so you wait for that one movie to prove everyone wrong. But next Friday it again changes... So I have stopped worrying about that at least," he added. "Satyagraha" also stars Ajay Devgn, Arjun Rampal, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Amrita Rao in lead roles. It will release on August 30.  

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