The Satya star Manoj Bajpai has finally found his dream house with wife Shabana Raza aka Neha and gives credit to her for doing it up single handed.
"We moved to our new place in Oberoi Towers which is just a stone's throw from where I lived earlier. I've been out of circulation, but my wife Shabana Raza has been doing up our new place brick by brick," Manoj told IANS.
"Believe me, for the first time I'm living in a place that I can call home. And it feels wonderful to be a householder in the true sense," he added.
He didn't tell anyone about it, but the actor has been confined to bed for eight months with a back problem.
"I was travelling to my village in Bihar. The state of the roads being what it is, our car plunged into a ditch. My back took the entire impact. I couldn't move my hand. For eight months I was in bed. But I still took time off my recovery to do Ganesh Acharya's Swami. I couldn't say no to him. Ganesh is Mahesh Bhatt without the gift of the gab."
Ganesh and Rahul Bose, with whom Manoj has teamed up for Rajeev Virani's thriller The Whisperers, are the two friends Manoj has found in Mumbai.
"After so many years of searching and being back-stabbed, I can proudly say I've found two friends in Rahul and Ganesh. And of course, my wife Shabana (who was christened Neha by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who discovered her)."
Manoj has just shot his first post-illness film.
"It's a comedy called Money Hai To Honey Hai featuring four of us - Govinda, Upen Patel, Ravi Kissan and I. We shot the film in Mauritius. I play a man who lives completely in a dream world. A sort of 'Mungerilal' (refers to TV comedy Mungeri Lal Ke Haseen Sapne) in Mauritius."
Matching steps with Govinda wasn't easy for Manoj.
"He's the absolute emperor of the comic genre and I was relatively new to comedy. I entered this humorous world with some caution, but to my delight Govinda turned out to be an absolute yaaron ka yaar.
"Since I don't have a leading lady in the film, most of my scenes are with Govinda. There was no sense of one-upmanship. The camaraderie between Govinda and myself in Mauritius had to be seen to be believed."
Manoj, who has been accused of being interfering, didn't proffer any suggestions this time.
He said: "On the sets I surrendered completely to Ganesh. I've learnt my lesson. No more suggestions to the director, unless I am asked for it. I unnecessarily acquired the reputation of being interfering on the sets when I was only trying to improve our team product. My new year resolution is to do my job and leave the rest to the producer and the director."
Co-incidentally Manoj's second post-illness film Jugaad is also a comedy.
"Jugaad is a humorous look at the sealing of properties in Delhi. I like the thought of laughing and making people laugh in my two films.
"For eight months I've been in pain. Now it's time for some fun. But neither Money Hai To Honey Hai nor Jugaad have any buffoonery in them, thank god!"
There was nothing remotely funny about the story Zahir that Manoj did with Diya Mirza in Sanjay Gupta's Dus Kahaniyaan.
"It was my foot-in-the-door into a big banner. For a very long time, big banners have eluded me. Sanjay Gupta is the first big production house to invite me as an actor. He's a filmmaker with a vision. I'm now doing a full-length film Acid with him. It feels nice to be settled, both professionally and personally."