Joined: 21 June 2005
While shooting for Amrit Sagar's 1971, directed by Piyush Mehra, Manoj Bajpai almost lost his leg to frostbite while shooting in Rohtang Pass. "It was an amazing, yet scary experience.
We shot for two-and-a-half months in Manali and Rohtang, in the most testing conditions, and almost died," says the actor. 1971 deals with the story of a group of six soldiers, held as POWs by Pakistan during the 1971 Bangladesh war. Manoj plays one of these POWs.
My right foot
"We were shooting the first scene of 1971," says the actor. "We had gone to Rohtang Pass, and it was snowing and drizzling continuously.
I suddenly developed a pain in my right foot, which then went numb. We had a consulting army officer from the Siachen glacier, Major Vikramjit Singh, who is also an actor. He saw me getting restless and rushed over to me. Though I was warmly clothed, I almost got frostbite in my feet."
What happened next? "I was feeling as if my feet were about to get cut over. Vikram took off my shoes and rubbed them for half an hour, till the pain started subsiding.
Someone wanted to light a fire to thaw my feet, but Vikram immediately stopped that. He said fire is very hazardous to frostbite and aggravates the injury. Later, he told me that if we hadn't reacted fast, I might have lost my life or right foot to frostbite. I will be grateful to him all my life," says Manoj.
Manoj's next films (in English), The Whisperers and Return To Rajapur are both complete.
"In Return To Rajapur, directed by Nanda Anand, I play prince Jai Singh who has converted his palace into a heritage hotel and gets attracted to an American married woman. The film is full of mystery and intrigue and is the journey of this woman's daughter."
What's The Whisperers about? "It's a psychological thriller about two people, Rahul (Bose) and I. It's one of the most difficult roles I have ever done."
What's the latest with Zee TV's Kam Ya Zyada, where Manoj is the anchor? "I have a 100-episode contract with them. After the 100th episode is over, the channel will take a call on whether they want me to continue or not."
Manoj's list of new films includes lyricist Mehboob's debut directorial thriller, one with E Niwas and another with adman Prahlad Kakkar.
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