National Award-winning actor Manoj Bajpayee, who plays a crucial role in “Naam Shabana” with Taapsee Pannu in the central role, says he has grown up seeing women in instrumental roles in his daily life, and so, taking instructions from a woman does not hurt his male ego. Talking about the changing role of women not only in Indian cinema but also in workplaces, Manoj told IANS here: “I have grown up seeing my mother, who is always taking all the decision in our house — whether it is about our upbringing, domestic chaos or discussing other matters with my father.”
“I saw my father not only respect my mother immensely, but he also gave her all the power to run the house. Therefore, taking instructions from women — whether my mother or my wife — is a common practice for me.” “Naam Shabana” features Taapsee as an empowered woman.
Manoj believes such women-centric films are changing the game not only because of the appreciation of the audience, but it also stems from the fact that filmmakers of the new generation have grown up watching powerful women in their lives. However, he does not appreciate making it a formula. “It is great to see how new filmmakers are well-exposed to world cinema and well-versed with how the world treats women as an equal entity as men. It also reflects in their writing and filmmaking,” he said.
“But there is no point of making it as a formula. I would not appreciate it if after the success of ‘Naam Shabana’, five more films will be made on the same story. Different stories, ideas and perspectives make a film an interesting watch. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I do not repeat my characters in films and always look out for something different,” Bajpaee explained. Starting his career with the film “Bandit Queen”, Bajpayee earned fame from films like “Satya” and “Pinjar”. He went on to deliver skilled performances that impressed the audience and critics alike in films like “Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar”, “Zubeidaa”, “Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1” and “Aligarh”.
It is interesting to observe how Bajpayee, whose off-screen image was mostly that of a ‘man of few words’, has over the years transformed into a friendly person who is constantly articulating his thoughts with a certain ease when talking to media and his subordinates. Asked how such a change has happened, Manoj said: “I think this credit goes to my wife (Neha of ‘Kareeb’ fame) who took out the hesitation from my personality and helped me to open up. Earlier, I was too serious about my work and a bit angry, or you can say short-tempered.”
“But she made me realise that there is nothing wrong to be nice with people, and through good communication, one can resolve many things. Now I appreciate people’s efforts openly. There are more friends around me and it gives positive vibes.”