‘I don’t make films for an actor like you’: What Yash Chopra once told Manoj Bajpayee

Mar 26, 2023 04:05 PM IST

Manoj Bajpayee shared that Yash Chopra was very fair when he cast him in Veer Zara. The director also admitted that he won't have any more roles for him.

Manoj Bajpayee got the opportunity to work with Yash Chopra once in his career, in the filmmaker's epic cross-border romance Veer Zaara (2004). The actor revealed that he acted in a small role in the film as Zaara's fiancé simply because he wanted to work with the legendary director. He had also grown up watching his films. The love story starred Shah Rukh Khan as the Indian Air Force pilot Veer and Preity Zinta as Zaara, the Pakistani woman he falls in love with. (Also read: Manoj Bajpayee recalls Shah Rukh took him to disco for 1st time: 'Maine chappal pehni thi, sabse garib admi main hi tha')

Manoj Bajpayee acted in the Yash Chopra film as Zaara's fiancé, Raza Sharazi.
Manoj Bajpayee acted in the Yash Chopra film as Zaara's fiancé, Raza Sharazi.

The actor shared that his character Raza Sharazi was more of a guest appearance and he only shot for the film for four-five days. Manoj added that Yash welcomed him on set like he did with the rest of the cast. In fact, he said that he got a royal welcome on the sets. The veteran director had watched Manoj's performance in the 2003 film Pinjar when he watched the film in Delhi with politician Lal Krishna Advani. He offered him the part after that.

In an interview with Humans of Bombay, Manoj recalled the film also gave him a chance to work with his old friend Shah Rukh. He said, "Shah Rukh, I have known for many years from my days in Delhi, so it was also a chance to catch up. Because we don’t meet up, we belong to two different kinds of films and filmmaking. So, it was a chance to catch up with him and also enjoy being on the sets of Mr Yash Chopra, who had been such a magnificent, successful mainstream director for so many years."

He continued, "We grew up watching his films! We used to chat for long, both Yash ji and me. He was very clear in telling me, ‘I don’t make films for an actor like you, so I don’t think I would have anything else in the future, but this is very good and it will be great if you agree to do it.’ He was such a humble man."

Manoj was last seen in the Disney+ Hotstar film, Gulmohar, with Sharmila Tagore, Simran and Suraj Sharma. He also has the films Despatch and Joram lined up for the year.

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