Actor Manoj Bajpayee looks back at 2020 and what can we expect in 2021!
How has 2020 treated you?
Somehow I am of the opinion that no situation is extreme. Nothing is completely good or bad. What we experienced was a year of turmoil. But I think we were fortunate compared with migrant labourers on the road. I feel blessed that we were able to adjust to the lockdown and somehow find our way out of the situation, do our meetings, interviews on the phone—thank God for technology—so that way most of us were blessed. But remembering what so many migrants on the road had to face, I feel the year was terrible for them. I pray that all those who suffered come back to normal. May God give them the strength to find their normalcy.
Your biggest takeaway from last year’s crisis?
It’s excessive greed that caused this worldwide crisis. It’s also a warning not to take nature for granted. The water, the greenery, the plants and the animals…don’t misuse them or you will lose them. If we don’t take this warning seriously we’re doomed. We need to move away from too much greed, pretense, glamour, ambition. Stay real. Stay connected to the ground level.
We lost so many stalwarts from the entertainment industry in 2020. Your reaction?
Irrfan Khan was such a great loss. We started our careers at the same time. Somehow we were connected. I can’t imagine how his family is doing without him. It was tragic and shocking. He inspired so many people with his work. Rishiji (Kapoor) just want away all of a sudden when he was still a force to reckon with. And then just a month later Sushant left us.
Did Sushant Singh Rajput’s death shake you up?
It rattled all of us. I don’t know anyone who was not shaken by his sudden going. And what transpired after Sushant’s death became a correctional process for the industry. But some months later the debate was subverted. Vested interests came in and the whole thing became very ugly. To paint the whole film industry with the same brush was so unfair and so demeaning. People with their own agendas made the whole debate so ugly. That’s when I moved away from the debate. But one thing is there. The ugliness will be forgotten.
Sushant Singh Rajput will be remembered forever. We all will miss him. How do you react to the toxicity on social media?
It will continue. People are empowered with access to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. They always had an opinion but didn’t know how and where to vent it. Now, they have the platform. They can abuse, insult or compliment. It’s their choice .We just have to live with it. I hardly use the social media. I go to it when I have a film to promote and then I disappear. I won’t give 14-15 hours to it. I’ve work and family. That’s my life. Not the social media. Being left out is the feeling that gets us sucked into it? We’ve to overcome it.
Your plans for 2021?
Without meaning to be immodest, I must tell you I am going to be shooting back-to-back this year. It’s because of the pile-up of work last year due to nine months of no work. I have told my wife and daughter about my excessive workload this year and I hope they will understand. I just took them for a holiday to Goa for the New Years. Now it’s work, work and more work. I hope to not only improve my craft of acting but also to take Indian cinema ahead with the films that I do. I am giving it all. And keeping my fingers crossed.
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