Actor Manoj Bajpayee has talked about being conferred with Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour by the Indian government, after serving as an actor for over 25 years in the Hindi film industry. The actor says it’s a huge honour for anyone who’s working dedicatedly for years and it does motivate one to do even better. Bajpayee talked to news agency IANS and expressed his excitement over the recognition he has received from the ‘highest office’. Here are a few interesting statements he made:

On the honour:
“It’s a huge honour for any professional because it’s not an honour for just one particular film or performance. It’s an honour for your journey, for your conviction and belief that you had.”

On the reactions of his loved ones:
“For the government, it’s a way of recognising the contribution that one has made to cinema. So yes, I am feeling very happy about it. My family, friends, and fans have been sending messages to me. I am feeling ecstatic that my work has been recognised by the highest office.”

On no need of being ‘extra careful’:
“I have always been very careful with my career. I don’t need to be extra careful (after this recognition). I am known for the work that I do. So, the similar pattern will go on…choosing the films which matter to me…which are coming from my own conviction and belief.”

On dedicating it to his audience:
“People who have been watching my performances, my films, have been a big support. If they are proud of my filmography and work, I am proud of what I have done.”

Since his debut in Bollywood in mid-1990s, the National Award-winner has acted in the mainstream as well as indie films. Last year, the Bandit Queen actor featured in seven films – Aiyaary, Baaghi 2, Missing, Satyameva Jayate, Gali Guleiyan, Love Sonia and Bhonsle.

He will next be seen in Sonchiriya, which will hit the screens on March 1. The film is set in the 1970s, and focuses on a small town ruled by dacoits.