As The Family Man 3 is set to roll by year-end, Manoj recalls how Mahesh Bhatt congratulated him for subverting Bollywood’s idea of a macho hero
We might only be in May, but Manoj Bajpayee is already looking forward to the year-end. He has a good reason for it too. By then, the actor will begin shooting for the third season of his much-loved series, The Family Man. His excitement is palpable as he shares, “I am desperate to wear my Srikant Tiwari uniform. My contract will come anytime now. By the end of this year, we’ll start shooting. I have been told about the season’s bible and synopsis, and it’s bigger and better.”
When The Family Man dropped online in 2019, it became a catalyst for many changes. The spy thriller, one of the early offerings in Indian OTT entertainment, showed the desi audience that long-format storytelling was here to stay. It not only consolidated Raj-DK’s position as two of the most able directors from the current generation, but also introduced viewers to a new type of hero—one who was far removed from the archetypical Bollywood hero. In the series, Bajpayee played an unassuming middle-class man, dismissed by his own family, but who secretly leads teams on the biggest missions to save the country. As he gears up for the third season, the actor recalls how he received the biggest compliment from Mahesh Bhatt, one that also summarises his career.
A still from The Family Man franchise
“When I was assisting Mr Mahesh Bhatt on Tamanna , I mentioned to him that I wanted to play a hero who was real. He said, ‘It cannot happen in this industry.’ But he graciously called up after watching The Family Man’s second season and said, ‘You proved me wrong. You have done what was impossible in this industry, shown that an ordinary man can be a hero,’” Bajpayee smiles.
The character of Srikant Tiwari changed the opinion of many in the audience, who until then believed that heroes needed to be macho and almost invincible. But the actor holds Bhatt’s change of opinion closest to his heart. “It was the biggest compliment, coming from Mahesh Bhatt because he is usually firm about his opinions. But he too changed his opinion after watching the show.”