At a time when his contemporaries were doing film after film, Manoj Bajpai was sitting at home nursing an injured shoulder and missing out on coveted projects. The actor, who will be seen in Jail, says he was going through a frustrating time when Madhur Bhandarkar offered him the movie.
"I was out of work for two and a half years because of my shoulder injury and I was going through my own suffering. I was frustrated and not keeping good mental health. I was restless and a time came when I started resigning to my destiny," Manoj told IANS in an interview here.
Scripts, however, kept coming his way despite his absence from the big screen.
"I won't give the names of the films I was offered or you'll feel sorry for me, but I had to let go of them because I could not move my arm even an inch," said Manoj.
The actor, who's won kudos for his performances in films like, Satya, Pinjar and Shool, says his personal sorrow helped in slipping into his character in Jail.
"I was living such a painful life that I guess I was already in the state of mind required to play my character in Jail. I started doing yoga and when Jail was offered, I was much deep into meditation," said the two-time National Award winning actor.
"My role in Jail is that of a silent narrator. I play the protagonist Parag Dixit's (Neil Nitin Mukesh) guardian and I am the narrator and observer of his journey.
"My character Nawab Khan is a convict who is serving life imprisonment. He doesn't speak much yet he is the film's narrator. My character is also the representative of the term 'jail' - both literally and figuratively," he explained.
Co-produced by Percept Picture Company and Bhandarkar Entertainment, Jail is the story of a common man who lands up in prison for unknown reasons.
Releasing on November 6, the film stars Neil and Mugdha Godse apart from Manoj.
Unlike Bhandarkar and Neil, who did rigorous research for the film, Manoj did not make any such efforts.
"I don't necessarily do research for a role by going to a particular place or meeting people because the data in my mind is already so much that I just need to recollect, write it down and rehearse," said Manoj, who was last seen in duds like Acid Factory and Jugaad.
He, however, did concede to visiting Thane Jail for the movie. "But I had already been there three times earlier. I was given a full round and I was given a brief about it. I've also been to Hyderabad Jail earlier.
"My experience with jails is not new because I've visited them earlier and so the workings of one were not new for me when it came for the movie," he added.
Despite the sabbatical Manoj is content with his career. "I am very happy with the films coming my way and very satisfied with the choices I am making...I'd love to do different kinds of roles and different genres if people (filmmakers) will give me that choice," said Manoj.
Apart from Jail, his future projects include Rajneeti and Das Tola.