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Padma Shri Manoj Joshi on not getting Bollywood awards: Paan-masale waale awards ki mujhe nahi padhi

Actor Manoj Joshi, who has worked in some 120 films, says that whether anyone considers him a ‘Bollywood name’ or not, he remains a part of the industry, and that this national recognition moved him to tears.

bollywood Updated: Feb 02, 2018 21:16 IST
Rishabh Suri
Rishabh Suri
Hindustan Times
Padma Shri actor Manoj Joshi,Actor Manoj Joshi,Padma Awards
Manoj Joshi, who has been awarded the Padma Shri in 2018, is a well-known stage and screen actor. (Shakti Yadav)

You’ve seen him in films such as Bhool Bhulaiya (2007), Golmaal (2006), Phir Hera Pheri (2006) — in short, some of the best comedy films Bollywood has churned out. While his face has an instant recall value, many might rack their brain when asked to name the actor. Manoj Joshi, awarded the Padma Shri this year, is a veteran of the stage and screen, and the lack of recognition by way of Bollywood awards doesn’t bother him much.

Joshi won the National Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2017 for the Marathi film Dashakriya, and in 2018, he is the only actor to receive the Padma Shri. (Film composer Illaiyaraja won the Padma Vibhushan this year.) Despite Joshi’s long stint in Bollywood, most people thought that no one from Bollywood had got a Padma honour this year.

Asked if this irked him, Joshi cheerfully replies, “Main Hindi filmon mein kaam karta hoon, aur 120 filmon mein mera kaam hai (I work in Hindi films, and have done 120 films). How does this mean I’m not a part of Bollywood? I’ve worked in films of various languages, too, and been associated with theatre for so long. I don’t know why people initially thought so. Koi maane ya na maane, main toh iss industry ka ek hissa hoon (Whether anyone acknowledges it or not, I am a part of this industry)!”

Joshi asks a rhetorical question: “Is an actor ‘renowned’ only when he is a superstar? Actor actor hota hai, and it’s the work which makes one great. I’ve never hired any PR agency for publicity, and never aspired to that in my life.”

‘I got a call out of the blue from the government about this, and I started crying. The hard work I’ve put in the past 33 years, all flashed in front of my eyes’ — Manoj Joshi, actor

The actor shares with us his first reaction when he learned that he’d receive the Padma Shri. “I can’t put it in words. It’s a great feeling when the nation recognises your talent and hard work,” he says. “I got a call out of the blue from the government about this, and I started crying. The hard work I’ve put in the past 33 years, all flashed in front of my eyes. I thank every small or big technician, co-stars, directors, and especially my wife Charu, who has always been there for me, and dedicate this award to all of them.”

What is surprising is that he hasn’t won even one award at any Bollywood award shows. Joshi says, “Paan-masala waale awards ki mujhe padhi hi nahi hai (These award shows, which are mostly sponsored by tobacco companies, have never interested me). Mujhe woh award ya nomination mile ya na mile, koi farak nahi padhta (Makes no difference to me if I get those awards, or nominations, or not)! Is there any honour bigger than [the Padma Shri]?”

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First Published: Feb 02, 2018 13:46 IST