2021 was an exceptional year for Manoj Bajpayee. He was officially crowned the Family Man of India. The Amazon Prime show catapulted Manoj to the position of the topmost OTT star. Characteristically Manoj remains unaffected. “I haven’t changed with success or failure. Either way I’ve always been a very responsible actor. I take neither failure nor success too seriously. They are both part of the same cycle of life, and we have to accept both. I’m taking the compliments and praise coming my way with a lot of humility. At the same time I am never bogged down by expectations and the responsibility. Every assignment of mine is equally important to me. I have never differentiated between big and small projects. To me they are all big. And I will continue to be the same. I will choose the assignments very carefully, not to fulfill expectations but to satisfy the hunger within me as an actor. I’ve told you this before: repetition is death for me.
Family Man 2 in 2021 took Manoj’s career to another level. But Manoj says he is just as proud of his other OTT releases last year. “Silence…Can You Hear It?, Dial 100 and Hungama Hai Kyon Barpat from the Ray anthology on Netflix for which both Gajraj Rao and I were immensely praised…these are all as precious to me as The Family Man. But let me tell you, 2022 is going to be very different from the content I shot for last year. So I am looking forward to the coming year. June-July onwards in 2022, all my new content will start streaming. They are all my passion projects. So I am eager to see how audiences react to them.”
How does Manoj manage to remain so excited about his work? “Yes I am very excited. I continue to be enthused by my work. It is a renewable process. Every year I make sure I look forward to the following year by doing the work that I haven’t done earlier. Luckily I am never short of options. I am lucky to have worked with such brilliant directors in recent times like Devashish Makhija, Deepesh Jain and Abhishek Chaubey. In fact I am now shooting a project with Abhishek Choubey. He is one of my most favourite directors. He is among the finest filmmakers in the country. It’s a privilege to be directed by him. I learn so much just by being on the set with him The way he treats his actors, the way he helps actors get all the nuances right…I’ve learnt so much from him. I am also very happy for Aban Deohans and Rensil d’Silva whose films with me Silence and Dial 100 have done well.”
Manoj’s other significant achievements during the year? “I got my National award for Bhonsle and also a Filmfare award for Family Man. I have just shot three fantastic films directed by Kanu Behl, Ram Reddy and Abhishek Choubey. Hopefully audiences will like me in these, as I have tried to things that I’ve never done before. I’d say these are significant moves ahead for me.”