Veteran actor Manoj Kumar is very happy to see two of today’s superstars carrying forward the work that he started 45 years ago. While Akshay Kumar is doing what Manoj Kumar, now 81, describes as the kind of cinema he believes in, cinema that changes society, Salman Khan is now doing a film called Bharat, the character that Manoj Kumar patented by playing the hero of that name in the 1970s’ classics Upkar, Purab Aur Paschim and Roti Kapada Aur Makaan.
The veteran actor shrugs off the compliments. “It’s not as if I had any copyright claims over the name ‘Bharat’. Anyone and everyone is Bharat. I am happy that superstars like Salman and Akshay are playing heroes who can bring about a social awakening, a new dawn, Naya Bharat.”
In fact in the late 1970s Manoj Kumar wanted to make a film titled Naya Bharat featuring him with Rajesh Khanna. Today he feels Naya Bharat can be made with Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar.
“If you are sincere to your work, and if you are sincere in your desire to bring about change in society, the audience will embrace your efforts. I see honesty in Salman and Akshay’s work that cannot go unrewarded,” says Manoj Kumar who wants to direct another film soon.
“I want to die with my chappals on. I plan to get back to direction at the earliest,” says Manoj Kumar.