New Delhi: In ‘Aarakshan,’ Manoj Bajpai plays a man for whom education is a way to mint money. The actor says he couldn`t relate to his very first ‘out-and-out’ negative role as he doesn`t agree with his onscreen persona.
"I could not relate to my character of Mithilesh Singh, a man who propagates commercialisation of education. He is arrogant and greedy for money. This is my first out-and-out negative character and I had a tough time playing it," Bajpai told reporters in an interview.
The 42-year-old actor said it was difficult for him to step into his character`s shoes as he himself doesn`t focus much on monetary gains in real life.
"It was difficult for me to play the character. I had to be professional about it. Not only commercialisation of education, I am against doing anything to earn money only. Even in my acting career I do not take up projects looking at my remuneration," said Bajpai.
Although he admits it is his first negative character, Bajpai refuses to term the role as a villain.
"He is not a typical villain. He is a man very much a part of today`s society."
Bajpai`s character is opposite to that of a college principal played by Amitabh Bachchan, but the actor says there is no face-off between the two.
"I don`t understand why such a big deal is being made out of it. We are sharing screen space and playing our respective characters. There is no face-off, no place to be intimidated by each other," said Bajpai.
This is the second time Bajpai has worked with Prakash Jha after gathering acclaim for his role in `Raajneeti`. The actor said although there was a mixture of old and new talents on the set, the atmosphere was pretty professional.
"I was more comfortable working with Prakashji as I already knew his ways. Everybody was very professional on the sets and stuck to their own job."
Besides Bachchan and Bajpai, `Aarakshan`, releasing on August 12, also stars Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone and Prateik Babbar.
After his rise to fame as Bhiku Mhatre in Ram Gopal Varma`s `Satya`, Bajpai starred in socially relevant films like `Shool` and `Pinjar` - the latter won him a National award. The actor says it is a conscious decision to take up films which deliver a social message.
"I relate to societal issues more because I come from such a background. Having been attached to various aspects of the society in some capacity, I tend to take up films which are socially relevant."
The actor is now looking forward to the release of `Gangs of Wasseypur`, directed by Anurag Kashyap and `Chittagong`, which tells the story of Bengali freedom fighter Masterda Surya Sen.
"Both films are under post-production. We deliberately delayed `Chittagong` because another film (Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey) on the same subject released earlier."
When asked about his wife Neha, who has been missing from the big screen for quite some time now, Bajpai said, "The day she gets a script which does justice to her, definitely she will be back."