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Sahara felicitates Manoj Bajpai

Parag Desai

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Manoj Bajpai The venue was a fairly unexplored restaurant by the sea-side - Blue Sea, the food was exotic, the mood was happy and that of casual camaraderie and the occasion was the felicitation of actor Manoj Bajpai by Sahara Manoranjan for winning the Special Jury award for Pinjar, at the recently announced National Awards for this year. Manoj will be staring in two of Sahara's forthcoming films; Pankaj Parasher's Inteqam and Makarand Deshpande's Hanan.

Even as the both, print and electronic media, cornered Manoj for sound bytes and some more, his two directors, Pankaj and Makarand as also Creative Director of Sahara Films and Mega Series Akashdeep set the tone for the party with his casual, good humoured banter. Also seen were Manoj's co-star Sonali Kulkarni in Hanan and cinematographer Kiran Deohans.

The formal part of the function began with Akashdeep congratulating Manoj followed by the two directors handing him over the plaque of appreciation. Said Pankaj, "Manoj is a fine actor and I am happy for him the recognition he's got in the form of the second National Award." Added Makarand, "I am proud of Manoj. Ever since the two of us worked in Ram Gopal Varma's Satya, he's hooked me with his Bhiku Mhatre character. I'm glad an actor of his caliber is around us. He's played the role of Pagla in Hanan in a way only he could. I hope we gather here again next year around when he wins the National Award for my film. I truly hope he does." Manoj on his part returned the compliments as he said, "It's been my long time wish to work with Pankaj and in Intequaam I simply said yes without even knowing what the script was. I have done in this film what heroines do, look good and wear great clothes while my two heroines Isha Koppikar and Nethra Raghuraman have done all the acting. As for Makarand he keeps putting pressure on me by saying again and again that I'm a good actor. Kisi actor ko maarna ho to use yeh kehte raho ki woh achcha hai! I don't know what the fate of Hanan would be but as an actor it's only led a progression of the actor in me and for that I'm truly blessed."

"Can I add anything more?" questions Aakashdeep, when asked for his comments on Bajpai's winning the National Award. "He is one of the most accomplished actors around. I had the honor of directing him in my film Ghaath, where he was cast opposite three other national award winners Tabu, Anupam & Om Puri. This award is just one the many that will adorn his showcase in the years to come. When we were casting for Hanan and Inteqam, we did not look beyond Manoj. Both the roles were contrast and very tough and we needed an accomplished actor. I can predict that both the films will do very well."

About the felicitation, Manoj was visibly embarrassed as he said, "I'm a small actor but what Sahara is doing for me, yeh unka baddappan hai ki woh mujhe yeh samman de rahe hain! I'm touched by this celebration because there is yet a long way to go & I seek Saharashri's blessings"

With the formal bit over Akashdeep led the guests to more merry making as everybody raised a toast to Manoj's success.


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