Guwahati: When we talk about versatility, the first name that comes to our mind is Manoj Bajpayee. In the span of 24 years of his career, the actor didn’t restrict himself to one genre and has essayed many path-breaking roles. Well, we say the award doesn’t define an actor’s talent, but bagging National Award not one or two times but three times does leave a great impact and gives out a message that he is not just an actor but an extraordinary one.
Bajpayee was born on 23 April 1969 in a small village called Belwa near the city Bettiah in West Champaran, Bihar.
Bajpayee did his schooling from Bettiah itself. He moved to New Delhi at the age of seventeen and went to Satyawati, then to Ramjas College, Delhi University.
Bajpayee had heard about the National School of Drama from actors such as Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah, so he applied. He was rejected three times and wanted to commit suicide afterwards. He then did director and acting coach Barry John’s workshop after actor Raghubir Yadav’s suggestion. Impressed by Bajpayee’s acting, John hired him to assist him in his teaching. After that he applied at the National School of Drama for the fourth time, and they offered him a teaching position at the school instead.
Bajpayee was married to a girl from Delhi, but got divorced during his period of struggle. He met actress Shabana Raza, who is also known as Neha, right after her debut film Kareeb (1998). The couple married in 2006 and they have a daughter.
Today, Bajpayee celebrates his 52nd birthday, so let’s look at the list of the actor’s top films
Ram Gopal Varma’s gangster drama centres around the titular character played by JD Chakravarthy. He is an immigrant who comes to Mumbai in search of work and meets Manoj Bajpayee’s character Bhiku Mhatre. The two soon get entangled in the underbelly of the city. Bhiku Mhatre is counted as one of the finest performances of Bajpayee, and the film is also among the best crime dramas made in Bollywood. It also stars Urmila Matondkar, Paresh Rawal, and Saurabh Shukla in pivotal roles.
Directed by Ram Gopal Varma and written by Anurag Kashyap, the suspense thriller stars Urmila Matondkar, Manoj Bajpayee and Sushant Singh in the lead roles. Back in 1999, the film was considered experimental as it was shot in just one house for over 15 days with no dance and song sequences.
In Shool, Manoj Bajpayee essays the role of an honest police officer Samar Pratap Singh who locks horns with corrupt MLA Bacchu Yadav (Sayaji Shinde) in a small town of Bihar. Raveena Tandon plays Bajpayee’s wife in the movie. Co-written by Ram Gopal Varma and Anurag Kashyap, Shool is predictable like any cop drama which highlights the story of an honest police officer. But what lifts the movie and makes it worth a watch is Bajpayee and Shinde’s performance. The film won the National Award for Best Picture in 1999.
Gangs of Wasseypur
Director Anurag Kashyap’s gritty gangster drama revolves around gangster Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpayee) and his power struggle with coal-mining kingpin Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia) in Dhanbad. The film boasts some striking performances by Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Piyush Mishra, Huma Qureshi, Dhulia and Richa Chadha. The second part of the movie hit screens two months after the release of Gangs of Wasseypur.
The Hansal Mehta directorial is based on the real-life incident of Aligarh Muslim University professor Srinivas Ramchandra Siras who was suspended from his job because of his sexual orientation. Manoj Bajpayee essays the role of Prof. Siras and Rajkummar Rao plays journalist Deepu Sebastian who brought the professor’s story out of the closet. The film boasts of another winning performance by Bajpayee. Also, Mehta handled the subject of homosexuality sensitively.
Directed by Devashish Makhija, the film features Bajpayee as the terminally ill lone wolf Maharashtrian cop Bhonsle. In her review of the movie, Shubhra Gupta wrote, “Bajpayee, one of the few Indian actors who uses silence to such effect, has been on a roll for the last few years, raising the bar with each performance. The last time he internalised a role as much was in the 2017 film Gali Guleiyan, directed by Dipesh Jain. Here he is even better, each crease in his worn face showing a man whose stoicism comes from hard experience, who has seen everything there is to see, and yet is capable of deep empathy. Bhonsle gives us an actor on the top of his game.”
Abhishek Chaubey’s dacoit drama features Sushant Singh Rajput, Bhumi Pednekar, Manoj Bajpayee, Ranvir Shorey and Ashutosh Rana as rustic rebels. With a power-packed cast and an intriguing plot, Sonchiriya is a must watch.