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Manoj Bajpayee on receiving his third National Award: I felt a mixed bag of emotions

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Manoj Bajpayee on receiving his third National Award: I felt a mixed bag of emotions

Upala KBR

There was a bustle at New Delhi's Vigyan Bhawan as the top brass of Bollywood collected to receive the National Awards on Monday. For Manoj Bajpayee, who took home the gong for Best Actor for his performance in Bhonsle at the ceremony's 67th edition, the experience, although sweet, could have been more memorable.
'I felt alone,' says Bajpayee, who lost his father on October 2. 'On wonderful occasions such as these, people celebrate with their loved ones. My wife [Shabana] and daughter [Ava Nayla] were supposed to be there. But, I was rushing from Kerala to attend it, so they couldn't come with me. I missed my parents a lot. My father was such a film buff! He would keep a track of everything that I have done, including every award and honour that I received. He would be very proud of every achievement. So, while attending the function, I felt a mixed bag of emotions.'

After Best Supporting Actor (Satya, 2000) and Special Jury Award (Pinjar, 2005), this win marks Bajpayee's third National Award. He acknowledges that in an industry that is becoming increasingly competitive, with each act outshining the other, winning this title is nothing short of an honour. 'The title is bestowed upon you by jury members who are celebrated in their respective fields. If they honour you and your work that year, you can only accept the compliments with pride and humility, and shrug it off your shoulders and prepare for the next day's shoot.'

In the pipeline for him are three mammoth projects, including one for Kannada director Raam Reddy, and Kanu Behl's thriller, Despatch, a direct-to-OTT release. 'Raam's movie is going to be quite an experience for the audience to witness. He's only 29-years old, but when he starts talking about philosophy, his views leave me spellbound. Kanu is a challenging director to work with. You have to be [mentally prepared] to work with him. He is brutal and may dislike every take. These young guys are making me grow, and I am going to work with them all the time. I don't want to become [complacent] I want to grow as an actor.'

Bajpayee is also shooting for Abhishek Choubey's Netflix movie. 'I have done two movies with him mdash Sonchiriya and Ray. He has many great ideas on approaching an act. Working with him is like attending an acting workshop."

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