He might have missed out on a third National Award this year, but being overlooked has only made actor Manoj Bajpayee’s dedication to acting stronger. Despite carving a niche for himself in Bollywood, he doesn’t feel content with the body of work he has built in his career spanning over 21 years.
“I feel I haven’t even started out in the industry. This is not a flamboyant statement, it is a statement from a person who feels he should have utilised 75 per cent of his talent by now. The actor in me still feels that I am using only 25 per cent of my ability. I am constantly looking forward to working with a new director, good narrative, portraying new, unique roles and that is why I feel this way,” says Bajpayee. The 47-year-old actor, who made an impact with his character of Bhiku Mhathe in Satya (1998), went on to do character-driven films such as Rajneeti (2010), Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) and Aligarh (2016). He believes a lot has changed in the film industry in the past five years.
The National School of Drama alumunus says, “I have given my 100 per cent to every project but in the past five years things have changed drastically and they have changed for good. So you feel that it is the best time to be a part of the film industry and give as much as you can.”
I feel I haven’t even started out in the industry. This is not a flamboyant statement, it is a statement from a person who wants to utilise 75 percent of his talent by now
Bajpayee maintained a dignified silence after his film Aligarh did not win at the 64th National Award, despite a lot of people from within the industry and outside rooting for the film. “Whether you are okay with it or not, you have to accept the [award] judgment, which has come out and move on from there. You can’t base your life on any award in this country. It’s all about moving on and waiting for the next opportunity. There is no point sticking to one place. Just move on, you may not be deserving it and I am over the response that people have been giving it and at the same time my job is to keep on getting into new roles and doing justice to them. This is not the last year of my life,” says Bajpayee.
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