In 2016, after leaving a mark with his rude cop character in Udta Punjab, Manav Vij will now be seen playing Anuksha Sharma’s brother in the upcoming flick Phillauri.
Born in Firozpur, Punjab, Manav is not a new name for the TV industry in Punjab as well as Bollywood, he's been here all this time, it's just that the kind of recognition this actor deserved is now finally coming his way.
Besides being a very talented actor, Manav still had his share of struggle in the industry when he was not getting any work. He started his career with Shaheed-E-Azam as Sukhdev in 2002 and then became famous with the television show Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi in 2007.
Manav is known to get into the skin of his character so well that the reel life characters actually come to life with him playing them. This probably is because of the fact that he is from a theatre background.
Vij generally plays serious roles but in real life he is a very cheerful, fun loving and optimistic person.
While talking to him, we got a lot of inside scoop about his upcoming work and his personal life...keep reading:
What is keeping you so busy that this interview kept postponing?
Laughs, apologizes and reveals, “I have been shooting for Bhalwan Singh and it’s a tedious shoot. Before this I was shooting for a short film and to prepare for that 15 minute short film I had to work for 6 days on my character.
Where did you vanish after Punjab 1984? Why such a long break?
Punjab 1984 established me in the Punjabi industry but the sad part was that I didn’t get any offers even after delivering such a movie. I was expecting more work but nothing came my way. The reason could either be lack of trust in me by Punjabi producers or simply that there was no role which I could do.
I was blessed to work with Anurag Singh in Punjab 1984 because not only in Punjab but even Bollywood started recognizing my work. The makers of Udta Punjab saw Punjab 1984 which is why I bagged the role in the movie. Maybe it was destined that Bollywood had to give me my deserved attention. Now the makers here have vested their interest in me and I am doing Punjab movies as well.
Why not lead roles?
“Kam chota vadda ni, Bande di neet hai vaddi choti"!"
Work is work, all roles are equal for me just that they have to be impactful and my audience should remember me. Even if I haven’t done lead roles but still people know me, recognize me and for that I am thankful to the almighty that he helped me do well in my field.
These days producers in Punjab have started trusting me and by god’s grace I am getting a lot of offers so maybe you’ll see me as lead one day but for now whatever work I am getting, I am working hard and honestly for it.
Why same kind of negative character in Bollywood?
My characters seem to be negative but are very different from one another . In Phillauri everyone thinks that I am the bad brother who separates Anushka from Diljit but when you watch the movie you’ll have a different picture completely.
The role is much more intense. You will see a deep relation between a brother and sister. The other role in Naam Shabana is of a patriotic man and in Lucknow Central is of an antagonist but different from the ones that I have done before. So, you can’t really categorize it in the grey shade.
Tell us about your Bollywood projects?
Phillauri releases this weekend, followed by Naam Shabana and Lucknow Central. There are a few others but I can’t reveal them right now.
Gippy Grewal is there in Lucknow Central and Diljit has already worked with you in Udta Punjab and Phillauri, how is it on the sets when you have a Punjabi actor on sets?
It is such a relief. Bollywood shoots are very professional. As soon as the shoot is over, the actors head towards their vanity immediately. But when we have someone like Diljit or Gippy we tend to have fun there also. We chat after the shots and spend time together. It was strange that I didn’t really interact with Gippy Grewal before I met him on the sets of Lucknow Central, but once we were together on the sets, it was great fun and now we miss that time.
After Punjab 1984 things got easy for me in Bollywood but it was disheartening that things never went in my favor in Pollywood. The struggle was more in Pollywood. I expected work to come from Punjab, people appreciated my role and remembered it but then the producers never thought that I could do any good. Bollywood makers noticed me and they are casting me in the roles they think I fit well in and I am glad about that.
You’ve worked in 3 industries - TV, Bollywood and Pollywood. How are they different from one another and which one is your favourite?
All three of them are very different. Television and Bollywood shooting sessions are strictly work and nothing else but when I land in Pollywood!
Here..at shooting sessions everyone is family. We hardly sit in our vanities. Instead we have food together, discuss and talk a lot.
Years back when I did television I really enjoyed it but once I landed in movies I started enjoying them much more. You get an opportunity to play so many different roles whereas in television you have to play the same character for years together. Also, the shelf-life of a movie is much more than that of a serial so I prefer doing something which gives me the opportunity to be different and be there for people to watch, even after years.
Tell us about your wife Mehar who has been doing extremely well for herself?
Mehar is my inspiration. She is 10 years younger to me and is very enthusiastic yet passionate about everything she does. Mehar is one of my most prized assets my work has given me. We met through work and nothing in life could have been better.
I often say “Television has given me Roti and My Voti”.
How supportive are you guys for each other’s work?
It’s a blessing that we both understand each other’s growth, pace and work. I am galvanized by Mehar’s performances. Be it Ardaas or Bajrangi Bhaijaan, though she is young but is doing remarkably well. She supports me and vice-a-versa. Whatever I do, I discuss it with her and she is the force pushing me always to do well.
The moment he completed this sentence, he got a call for his shot and excused himself but with a promise that he'll soon do a video interview with us and disclose a few more secrets!