Manoj Bajpayee has played many gangster roles in his career. However, for Neeraj Pandey’s next, he is on the other side of the law. The actor talks about avoiding controversies, being the all-new Manoj Bajpayee and his upcoming film…
After Raajneeti and Gangs of Wasseypur, do you think that you are in the best phase of your career?
Today directors are making films with character actors. Some of these films are also doing well which means there are enough reasons for producers to support these projects. For me it all started after Satya and I had to sit and wait for many months at home and do nothing as I was only offered roles of villains. For my kind of actors, there were films like Aks, Zubeidaa and many more. Young directors like Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Vishal Bhardwaj and Neeraj Pandey had lead actors in the form of character actors and were not looking at stars as leads. These things have given a further boost to my career.
How important is money for you now before signing a film?
Both then and now I look at the script first, then the producer and then the director. I think after so many years I expect people to pay me well. Because now I not only need good roles but also good money. I am not the old Manoj Bajpayee. I also have a family to look after, a family whose future I have to secure.
You are never a part of any controversies. Smart strategy?
(Laughs) I just go on the sets, shoot and take my cheque and come home. I think it’s very easy not getting into any controversy. I just spend time with my family and that’s why I don’t get linked to anyone. I hardly go to any place where I am invited and nor do I invite anyone to my place.
Finally, all your directors like Prakash Jha repeat you in their films. Why not Anurag?
What makes you think that? Just wait for the right time. As far as others repeating me, I never ask questions and blindly follow my directors.
Tell us about your character in Neeraj Pandey’s next?
I would say that just as the title, it’s a special thriller with a special director. It is an intelligently written, lighthearted mass thriller where it is hard to guess what happens next. I am playing CBI officer Wasim Khan. He is a conservative husband and a doting father but very focussed on his work.