Manoj Bajpayee on winning Padma Shri: I am hardly anyone who’s waiting for any award to happen
Manoj talks to us about the difficult 25-year journey in Bollywood so far, and his wife who keeps him grounded.Updated: Jan 29, 2019 13:10 IST
Right from Bhiku Mahatre in Satya (1998), to Sardar Khan in Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), from a homosexual professor in Aligarh (2015), to a scheming politician in Raajneeti (2010) — actor Manoj Bajpayee has enthralled his fans with a variety of roles in his 25-year-long career in films. And on top of hitting this milestone in his career, he’s been conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri at the 70th Republic Day.
Excerpts from an interview with the man himself, on the not-so-smooth journey in films and his wife who keeps him grounded.
What’s your state of mind as of this moment?
What do you feel after winning such an honour? You feel honoured, and happy somewhere that whatever you have done in so many years, was right, your conviction was rightly placed. Also, it’s happening in the 25th year of my existence in this industry… when the journey hasn’t been such a smooth one, when it took so much of courage and guts to stick to one’s conviction and belief.
Since you say the journey hasn’t been smooth, is there a sense of validation for all of it now?
Not only for me. Certainly, since the night when it was announced, suddenly I feel as if all the people who are congratulating me, they are congratulating themselves! It’s validation for all the people who have loved me and the work I have done. That’s huge gratitude for me.
Is the timing right for the honour, or do you feel it was a long time coming?
My family feels that, they always say ‘it (has) been coming for many years now’, but I am hardly anyone who’s waiting for any award to happen. I love to move ahead from the last one. I am happy this honour has come to me in the time I am celebrating 25 years of a difficult journey in the film industry. All of this everything together, has given me a reason to celebrate.
But how important are awards to you anyway?
You feel happy when you get it, but at the end of the day, it’s an honour being given to you and an award is completely different. Padma Shri is different. An award is given for a particular performance, but Padma Shri is for your contribution to only cinema but also the society through your profession. It’s also for the manner in which one has conducted himself. This is the highest honour, and when everyone is feeling it was long overdue, I am feeling all the more happy that they wanted this to happen for me.
You have said your wife is your biggest critic. What was her reaction?
She was very happy, and being elated, she called up her parents. The kind of practical people and family we are, we got up early morning the next day after the announcement, and during our early morning tea ritual, she said ‘You have got this one, let’s start working for the future now’ (laughs). That’s the kind of family we are, we feel very happy with these achievements, but at the same time, we know we have to move on from here.
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