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    My erotic scenes have a touch of evil: Manoj Bajpai

    [Interview by Subhash K. Jha]
    Wednesday, November 03, 2004
    Manoj Bajpai hasn''t really been visible lately. So what has he been up to?

    "Good work!" he grins. "My new release ''Inteqaam'' will hopefully qualify as that. Though it''s a full-on mainstream film I don''t have a single song to sing. So my role is certainly not that of a conventional hero.

    "Songs are essential to conventional heroes. That''s why ''Inteqaam'' is different. We decided to not let my character be hampered by songs. Of course, there are three item songs... very sexy," Bajpai told IANS in an interview.
    So this is Bajpai's first sexy film?

    "Oh, I've dropped my staid image earlier in Rakesh Mehra's 'Aks' where I did a much talked about love scene. Now again in 'Inteqaam' and in 'Bewafaa', I've done some erotic scenes.

    "I don't know why these filmmakers thought I could pull it off. I must tell you all my love making sequences have a certain amount of evil in them. They think Manoj Bajpai can bring in that touch of evil with a lot of panache."

    He hastens to add that contrary to the promotional pitch, 'Inteqaam' isn't an erotic film.

    "To project a film as erotic has become the way to sell your film. But those moments are incidental to the plot. And they're certainly not the USP of 'Inteqaam'.

    "According to me, the film's mainstay is its fast-paced whodunit format which Pankaj Parasher is very good at. The day I said yes to this film I knew I was in safe hands. Pankaj has presented me very well."

    Bajpai describes "Inteqaam" as a straight-from-the-hip thriller. "My personal problems or the politics of the nation have no bearing on the plot. My character is a cop looking for a murderer. It has nothing to do with realism.

    "I've played a cop without songs in 'Shool'. But that was realistically treated. I modify my performances according to the movie's mood. I strongly believe an actor should prepare according to the genre of the film. In 'Inteqaam' I had to look and walk a certain way."

    Is the cop's role in "Inteqaam" as important to Bajpai as the policeman's role in Parasher's "Jalwa" was to Naseeruddin Shah many years ago? Bajpai disagrees.

    "When Naseer did 'Jalwa', he was only known as an actor from parallel cinema. But when I came into films there was no parallel cinema left! I've done films with mainstream directors like Ram Gopal Varma, J.P. Dutta and Rakesh Mehra.

    "I don't think I've worked with any parallel directors except Shyam Benegal or Chandrapraksh Diwedi. Even there I'd like to say I consider Diwedi's 'Pinjar' was very mainstream because it had all the commercial ingredients."

    Commercial success has so far eluded Bajpai. Will "Inteqaam" do the trick?

    "Ah, when I accept a film I don't think of its commercial potential. And when a film doesn't do well my life doesn't come to standstill. In 'Inteqaam' I've used my intensity in a very stylish way.

    "I'm not trying to scare or win over the audience. Rather my character will confuse audiences. Until the end you won't know if I'm a murderer."

    Next, Bajpai will be seen in a guest appearance in Yash Chopra's "Veer-Zaara", followed by a villainous turn in Dharamesh Darshan's "Bewafaa".

    "I feel 'Bewafaa' will do very well. It has an emotional quality that audiences will like. You'll be shocked by my performance. My character is very flamboyant and lou

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