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Manoj Bajpayee : The star is still shining

by Jay Joshi

It is too difficult to define the journey of Manoj Bajpai. There have been actors who have struggled initially, but, once they tasted success, they have either flourished until they opt out acting by their own choice or they have perished due to failures despite earning praise in the beginning. Manoj Bajpai is amongst very few who has witnessed a roller-coaster ride of success, failure and success.

His career-defining roles like Bhiku Mhatre in Satya, silent yet impressive Man Singh from Bandit Queen, fierce yet funny Sardar Khan from Gangs of Wasseypur and the most recent one Shrikant Tiwari from The Family Man web series has made him the man of the moment. His beginnings were never easy and struggle was like his BFF. Several rejections from the National School of Drama, and then working in TV serials like Shikast where he wasn’t even paid his remuneration, and last but not the least, after working for more than 10 years in the industry, he was neglected by a media member who refused to shoot him at an event. However, the actor has thick skin and always manages to bounce back.

After small roles in TV serials, he grabbed an opportunity to work in Bandit Queen (1994). Unfortunately, the role of Man Singh didn’t allow him recognition in the film industry and he struggled for film roles until he met Ram Gopal Verma for the movie Daud (1998). Undoubtedly, he got the role in the movie, but he was also cast in Satya (1998), and the rest is history. Finally, he was recognized, not only by the industry but also by the audience. From there on, he did extraordinary work in movies like Aks (2001), Pinjar (2003), and so on. Despite so many movies under his belt, it still felt like he wasn’t done with the struggle.

There was a time when he even started approaching directors for good roles and then one fine day; he received a role of a protagonist in Gangs of Wasseypur (2012). He portrayed Sardar Khan, which created a much-needed buzz for his career. Since then, he has never looked back. Recently, he is doing tremendous work in the OTT platform with web series like Family Man (2019, 2021). Looking from the start to his recent work, Manoj Bajpai has defied all odds and paved his way to sheer brilliance. He is amongst the best, if not the best, realistic actors we have in the Hindi Film Industry. Nevertheless, his career has seen so many ups and downs, the star is still shining!

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