Happy to be "an actor, not a star," Manoj Bajpai believes "it's the performance that counts and not the image."
HT City caught up with the new-age angry young man to talk about his Hollywood rendezvous and more...
Manoj was naturally enthused about his 'foreign venture', Vasu Vangala's forthcoming film Carcin, meaning Cancer. So is it the lack of meaningful roles back home that has him scouring the seven seas?
"I don't have a reason to run away. It's a fab film and I am proud to be a part of it. Bollywood has given me more than I expected though it does not accept strangers easily. I intend to continue as long as I get decent work," the actor affirms.
Manoj's film 1971, an unsung saga of forgotten soldiers, recently hit the cinemas. Then there is The Whisperers with Rahul Bose, a psychological thriller and Sanjay Gupta's Dus Kahaniyan. Now, that's a full platter for someone who's choosy about his work! Manoj isn't too bothered about the BO and treats critics as his best friends. And no, it has nothing to do with his critically acclaimed films like Aks.
Says the gifted actor, "I've never feared failure as whatever happens I'll be back on my feet. One thing I know for sure is that not all successful films have substance and not all good films make it to the hit list, so why bother? If there isn't work that suits my sensibilities my suitcase is always packed!"
Never say die:
Well, such conviction is not surprising for a man who was rejected by the NSD thrice!
"Rejection has only made me try harder I come from a village, but my parents are pretty modern. After I graduated, all they asked me was to give my 100 per cent to whatever I do. I could think of nothing else but acting."
The 'angry man' of films like Shool, Satya, Pinjar is quite grounded in real life. Manoj claims to be a "homebody".
"I may be a mad man in the industry, but my wife Neha knows how to tame me! But had it not been for my madness... I wouldn't be here."
We agree Manoj.