Special encounters

Special encounters

in conversation

Real stories and realistic characters have always fascinated Manoj Bajpai

. The actor has almost made it a rule to play real life characters, be it as a coal mafia chief in Gangs Of Wasseypur or a naxalite in Prakash Jha’s Charavyuh or a police inspector in Special Chabbis.

Now, the actor is seen hosting a crime series, Encounter, on Sony. Speaking to us from Mauritius, where he is currently shooting, Manoj said, “I was looking for something interesting to make a comeback, and I think this show has all the ingredients that thrills me as an actor.” Incidentally, Manoj started his career with the television serial Swabhimaan that aired on Doordarshan. He went on to do serials like Kurukshetra and Badaltey Rishtey. And later he also hosted a game show Kam Ya Zyaada in 2005. Talented as he is, the actor could not restrict himself to television serials for long.

With Encounter, the actor has returned to television after his successful stint in movies. The stories on the show are real-life incidents that are narrated from Manoj’s point of view. “I present stories of famous encounter killings that took place between the Mumbai police and popular gangsters,” Manoj explains.

Manoj narrates the life story of a gangster, which starts off from his childhood to the point that leads to the infamous encounter. “The show has 39 episodes and each one of them is interesting and gripping, and will catch the eye of audiences of all ages. I am giving the show a new dimension by presenting it from the points of view of both the police and the gangster,” he says.

Manoj goes on to add that the aim of the show is to tell the audiences that crime does not pay and when it does, it ends with an encounter. “History has always proved that evil always ends with death. Even in epics we have read and heard that villains have to pay for their deeds. Many of them get involved in criminal activities by chance, but then they get addicted. Such people live their life in constant fear, and are always defensive about their family life, which they put to stake. Despite being powerful and having made money, they cannot lead a happy life. We are trying to give every episode an interesting twist.”

Not new to television, Manoj is aware that TRPs play an important role in the success of a television show, but the actor says that these things never troubled him. “Just as I don’t speak about any hit or flop movies, TRPs have never bothered me. I only do things that excite me. It’s all destined; no one can control these things. My job is to make the show exciting so that, in the end, people can watch it. It’s a well made show.”

While he is busy hosting the show, Manoj will be also be shooting for two films, back to back. One is Traffic, a remake of a Malayalam film of the same title, being produced by Endemol and directed by Rajesh Pillai, and the other is Saat Uchakkey.

 “Traffic is a social thriller, a brilliant film. You won’t know when it starts and when it ends. Then I am doing Saat Uchakkey, a suspense thriller, which is co-produced by me with Neeraj Pandey’s production house Friday Filmworks. The film is being directed by Sanjeev Sharma, and has Tabu opposite me after a very long time,” he rattles off.