chat Manoj Bajpai is enjoying his big-budget outings including the upcoming Special 26

Manoj Bajpai used to frequently call up Neeraj Pandey to ask for any role in his film. The powerhouse performer says he has no qualms about admitting that it was his persistence that paid off when Pandey (who had earlier directed A Wednesday) called him one day to speak about Special 26. “ If I admire someone’s films, I have no problem in asking them for work. I have learnt this from Anupam Kher. He says he calls up his favourite filmmakers even today to inquire if anything interesting is happening,” says Manoj, while talking about his upcoming film Special 26.

The actor praises Pandey for the way he planned every detail of the film. “Neeraj invests a lot of time in the script. Goes through post-production and editing meticulously. He is also open to suggestions from his actors.”

Manoj plays a real CBI officer Wasim Khan in Special 26, which is a heist drama that is based on the robbery that took place in a reputed jewellery shop in Mumbai in the 1980s. Akshay Kumar leads the pack of 26 conmen. “I think Wasim Khan will be remembered for the way Pandey has etched out the character. At work, the officer sports a dual personality. He disperses his duty with honesty, but if that doesn’t work, he resorts to unscrupulous means.”

Manoj who has played a cop earlier in the award-winning film Shool says that his character in Special 26 is very different. “Shool required me to be intense all the time. I couldn’t smile even when the cameras went off. Here I got a chance to explore the human side of Wasim.”

The actor says that his co-star Akshay was a pleasure to work with.

“Akshay is very affable and the best thing about him is that he doesn’t take his success too seriously.”

Talking about the directors whom he would like to work with, Manoj lists Dibakar Bannerjee, Nishikant Kamath and Vishal Bharadwaj.

“I am waiting for performance-oriented roles to happen. Last year was great with films such as Gangs Of Wasseypur, Chittagong and Chakravyuh. I hope my upcoming big budget films do well. You need all kinds of films to make your career interesting.”

The actor will next be seen in Sanjay Gupta’s Shootout At Wadala (Anil Kapoor-John Abraham) and Prakash Jha’s Satyagraha (Amitabh Bachchan-Ajay Devgn-Kareena Kapoor Khan).