Manav Vij, who played the bad cop in Udta Punjab, the long wait for a great role is always worth it
I am actually a doctor based in Mumbai. Acting happened to me by chance and then I took it up as a profession as the offers were always there. I started with television shows and then moved to films.
On Ekta Kapoor
I don’t know whether or not it was sheer coincidence but my first break was with Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji inKyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and my first Hindi film is Udta Punjab, which is also produced by Ekta. She has been a very important person in my life.
On bagging Udta Punjab
I started my career in television and did a few shows but then came a point where I wanted to do some creative work. I thought of doing films but I didn’t want to do just about any role. Then I started getting offers for Punjabi films and found it comfortable because since I am Punjabi, I could deliver those lines well. I had done Punjab 1984 with Diljit Dosanjh and our casting director Honey Trehan had watched that film. So when he was auditioning for Udta Punjab, he called me. That’s how I bagged the cop’s role.
On the brief
Abhishek Chaubey, our director, wanted me to be real, so we developed the character and I put on 10-12 kgs for the role. A beard suited my character perfectly. In fact, a beard is quite lucky for me as I baggedUdta Punjab, Rangoon and Phillauri because of it. As for the cop’s character, I did exactly as our writer Sudip Sharma and director asked me to do. We discussed the character, how one should speak, why he is a cop, why he is involved in the scam, etc. There was an entire backstory given to me about my character. It is not apparent in the film but it helped me get into the flow. Every scene and every single nuance in my character had meaning.
On his character
My character is not dark; he is not very crooked as he is the one who gets Diljit Dosanjh into the job; and he is the one who saves his brother, even when he attempts the murder. He knows drugs are ruining Punjab’s youth but he needs the money and is simply following the system.
Growth as an actor
Acting happened to me by chance but I started enjoying the process and television helped me learn the other side of acting. When you work in television, you are constantly working and your output has to be the best. Then, films happened, and this made me a calmer person because it teaches you to be patient in terms of getting good offers. You could be without work for months or even a year but then you bag a film like Udta Punjab and you realise that the wait is worth it.