I am an out and out villain in Prakash Jha's film: Manoj Bajpai

Aug 13, 2013, 09:01 IST | Shameem Khan

When Manoj Bajpai joined the industry there were few films written for actors like him. However, the new wave of cinema has meant more exciting work for this actor who will be seen next in Prakash Jha's upcoming film and the Hindi remake of the Malayalam hit Traffic

CS speaks to Manoj Bajpai about his image, career and turning producer.

Grey is good
I am an out and out villain in Prakash Jha’s film. I don't like playing that because villains are completely black, I prefer some grey shades to a character. I like to choose roles which interest me. Having said that, it's hard to refuse the new-age directors as they have a great script-sense. It’s taken me 20 years to get the kind of roles I am looking for. It’s a good time for cinema and I can proudly say that I have made my contribution to bringing it to this stage. 

Image conscious
Nobody asks Al Pacino or Robert De Niro as to why they aren’t doing diverse roles. I don’t understand the notion of diversity being a benchmark of excellence in acting in Bollywood. I don’t feel the need to do a romantic or a comedy just to prove that I am a fine actor. I am a serious actor because I take my job seriously and deliver the goods.

Donning the producer’s hat
I want to produce films but my over-commitment to acting is what’s stopping me from going ahead. I can’t take up a task for a lark. Even if I get a two months break from acting, I will produce a film. As for the kind of films I will produce, I am not one to bank scripts but am keen on seeing what these new directors have on mind.

Building bonds
Prakash (Jha) and I are not of the same age to be friends but do we share a comfort level. We have high expectations from each other. I can’t take our rapport for granted. I don’t know whether I will work with him again because I live for today and it goes against my personality to think whether we will work in the future. I was humbled when Nawaz (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) called me ‘the best actor in the country’. I took it as a compliment because it came from someone like him.

Biwi Ho Toh Aisi
Shabana (Neha) is a hands-on mother and she’s doing a great job of bringing up our three-year-old daughter Ava Nayla single-handedly. I don’t get much time to devote to Ava. She’s one of the best-looking women around, and is intelligent as well. I am really trying to get her to take a break from her routine and do an acting assignment. I am dying to act with her too, it will be fun bringing home to the sets. Yes, I do miss Shabana as she cannot accompany me on my shoots because of the baby. 

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