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Manoj courts int'l success

Manoj Bajpai?s Return To Rajapur has been selected for the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2006 14:30 IST

He is an actor of substance. And rather than do any film that comes his way, Manoj Bajpai prefers to sit and wait for a good script.

One such was New York-based Nanda Anand’s Return To Rajapur. The film, which has Kolkata-born Anand donning both the director and producer’s caps, has been selected for the Tribeca Film Festival, which kicks off in March in New York. However, the category under which the film will be screened hasn’t been selected yet.

The festival, organised annually by Hollywood actor Robert de Niro since 2002, aims to help in the evolution of New York as the independent film capital of the world.

Anand’s film also stars Lynn Collins, Justin Theroux and Kelli Garner. Arclights Films will be distributing the film. Nanda did her MA in Psychology from Columbia University and also did a course in film and video from New York University. Return To Rajapur is her debut feature film.

Manoj Bajpai plays a maharaja in Nanda Anand’s Return To Rajapur. He is playing the king for the second time after Shyam Benegal’s Zubeidaa.

We caught up with an excited Bajpai over the phone. “The letter has arrived, otherwise I wouldn’t have given you the news.” He adds, “Most nominated films in international films awards or festivals are independent films. They are made on a tight budget and what actors get is peanuts. But films like these give one a chance to explore new avenues.”



Return To Rajapur is an

English film and Bajpai plays Jai Singh, a

maharaja

but “not a typical

maharaja,”

he adds. The prince runs a heritage hotel and the film revolves around “this beautiful relationship he shares with Sara, played by Lynn Collins, who comes to his hotel in India”. Bajpai says playing the character was challenging. The film traces almost 30 years of the

maharaja

’s life, from the age of 32 to 60.



Bajpai says initially he was not sure whether he should do the film. “I was apprehensive. It is an English film. English is my third language, Bhojpuri being my first. But I believed in the script and thought I should do it,” he says. Bajpai is going to attend the festival. “I have been asked by the director to be there and hopefully, I will make it,” he says. Back home, he has E Niwas’ next film and Amrit Sagar’s

1971.

First Published: Feb 28, 2006 14:30 IST