Manoj Bajpayee talks about Sushant Singh Rajput and nepotism in B-town: 'He couldn't handle the pressure'

The actor, who is busy promoting his upcoming film, got candid in a recent chat and discussed the nepotism and politics prevalent in Bollywood

By CT Desk

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Published: Mon 22 May 2023, 3:19 PM

Last updated: Mon 22 May 2023, 3:27 PM

Acclaimed actor Manoj Bajpayee, renowned for his powerful performances, is currently engaged in promoting his upcoming film, Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai, slated to release on OTT on May 23. The film will see Manoj in the role of a lawyer fighting a rape case against a Godman. Amidst his busy promotional schedule, the actor recently shared his thoughts on Sushant Singh Rajput, who passed away in 2020, and opened up about the issue of nepotism in the industry.

In an interview with Indian media portal Aaj Tak, Manoj expressed his perspective on nepotism, a frequently discussed topic that often leads to social media trolling of star kids. He revealed that he was never personally affected by nepotism because star kids wouldn't choose to work in the kind of films he does. Manoj said (the conversation has been directly translated from Hindi), "Nawaz would do it, Irrfan would do it, or Kaykay Menon would do it. These are not commercial films, so nobody pays attention to them or invests money in them because these kind of films don't make stars."

He goes on to add how nepotism has always been in place. But "it cannot be used as an excuse all the time," Manoj said. "Do theater, if you're a talented actor, you can even earn money by performing on the street."

The conversation then shifted to Sushant's untimely demise. The talented actor, known for his role in MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, tragically passed away on June 14, 2020, at his residence in Bandra. Following his death, discussions surrounding nepotism dominated social media. During the interview, Manoj disclosed that he was personally deeply affected by the news. He revealed their close bond while working together on the film Sonchiriya, which released in 2019.

"We became really close, and he had so much love for me," Manoj shared. "I would often cook mutton on set, and he would always come to eat. We never knew he would take such a drastic step, but he had confided in me about his struggles."

Manoj also commented on Sushant's inability to cope with the politics and competition to become a star in the industry. He added, "Politics exists in the industry, but it becomes dirtier as you climb the ladder of success. I never had an issue with it because I am strong-willed and thick-skinned. However, he wasn't, and he couldn't handle the pressure. He had shared his concerns about these matters with me."

When asked if Sushant was a victim of politics, Manoj responded, "If you want to be a Manoj Bajpayee, there is no politics. But he wanted to be a star, and there is fierce competition (and politics) in that area. Anyone entering the industry with the goal of becoming a star would strive to achieve that position. However, he couldn't bear it. I have come to realize that he had a pure soul and an innocent nature. He couldn't understand the level of manipulation required."

Sushant's final film, Dil Bechara, was released posthumously in July 2020. It featured Sanjana Sanghi in the lead role alongside him.

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