Manoj Bajpayee remembers how Yash Chopra offered him the role in Veer Zaara but declined since he didn’t create movies for actors like him.
After Veer Zaara’s release, almost two decades have passed. In the Yash Chopra-directed movie, Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta expertly portrayed the traditional story of two star-crossed lovers. Manoj Bajpayee, Priety’s fiancé, and Rani Mukerjee, SRK’s solicitor, excelled in their parts. Apart for Manoj, most of the performers in the film collaborated with Yash Chopra once more. The actor recently disclosed the cause, and it’s rather intriguing.
Veer Zaara also featured Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, and Kiron Kher in addition to Rani and Manoj. All of them played heroic roles, except the actor from The Family Man played a villain. He falsely accused SRK and got him sentenced to years in prison. Despite having little screen time and an unlikable character, Manoj consented to play the part for Yash Chopra.
Manoj Bajpayee recalls Yash Chopra requesting him to join the film. Manoj says, “No offence to him (Shah Rukh Khan), but I did this film because Mr Yash Chopra called me up and requested me to be a part of it. He was a big fan of my performance in Pinjar and once he saw the film in Delhi with Lal Krishna Advani ji, Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, he was thoroughly impressed with my performance. That’s when he thought of offering me this role.”
Shah Rukh Khan and Manoj Bajpayee have known each other since they were both actors. Manoj continued, When the opportunity to work on the movie presented itself, I jumped at the chance to work with Yash Chopra and catch up with the celebrity.
He further continued, “It was a chance to catch up with him and also enjoy being on the sets of Mr Yash Chopra, who had been such a magnificent, successful mainstream director for so many years. We grew up watching his films! We used to chat for long, both Yash ji and me. He was very clear in telling me, ‘I don’t make films for an actor like you, so I don’t think I would have anything else in the future, but this is very good and it will be great if you agree to do it.’ He was such a humble man.”
One of the greatest actors of all time, Manoj Bajpayee gave one of his best performances yet in Veer Zaara.