Manoj Bajpayee: Bollywood’s underrated gem

Khevna.P.Shah, INN/Bangalore

Content Writer

The outstanding performance by Srikanth Tiwari (Manoj Bapayee), in the trending series ‘The Family Man’ has been positively accepted by the audience.  Padma Shri recipient, Bajpayee got public recognized for this role, but the audience failed to recognize his talent in his previous films. He was also been awarded Filmfare OTT Award for the Best Actor, Drama Series (Critics) for his role in ‘The Family Man’.

In 1988, Bajpayee made his first breakthrough in Ram Gopal Verma’s (Satya), in which he played a role of a gangster. He received the National Flim Award for the Best Supporting Actor and Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor of the film. Later in 2003, he won the Special Jury National Award for his role in the movie ‘Pinjir’ based on the 1947 partition. He was seen playing a negative role in the political drama ‘Rajneeti’ and in ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’. He won his third Filmfare Critics Award for the Best and actor and the Best Actor award at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards in 2016 for his role of Ramchandra Siras, in Hansel Mehta’s biographical drama Aligarh. His performance in ‘Bhonsle’ was critically acclaimed and got him, the National Film Award for the Best Actor at the 67th National Flim Awards.

For actors like me, the journey has been so miraculous that we ourselves can’t believe it”, Manoj Bajpayee. Apart from ‘The Family Man’ and ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, there are other movies starring Bajpayee in which his performance went unnoticed.

First of being, LOC Kargil, the movie is a recap of the 1999 Kargil war. Manoj Bajpayee plays the role of the soldier, who survives the war. Despite the movie having a star cast, Bajpayee’s sincere effort stood out.

Chittagong is a historical war drama based upon British India’s Chittagong uprising, starring Bajpayee in the lead role as Surya Sen (school teacher). Along with the other actors, Nawassudin Sidique and Rajkumar Rao, Bajpayee gave a memorable performance.

Shool was Manoj Bajpayee’s first film as the solo lead. He plays the role of the honest cop fighting against the corrupt government. This song “Main aayi hu UP Bihar lootne” is an unforgettable song for the 90s kids. Though the movie won National Award, Bajpayee’s acting was overlooked.

The Road is a thriller movie directed by Rajat Mukherjee, though Bajpayee was given a side role, he stole the show with his brilliant acting of a creepy hitchhiker.

And lastly is Gali Guleiyan, a psychological drama that is Bajpayee’s most underrated performance. He plays the role of a man from a broken pat, who is being suffocated with claustrophobia.

“I have no resentment towards the industry but at the same time, I would say the industry has not utilized even 20 percent of my potential. I like to work with like-minded people and right now I am enjoying what I am doing. I am in a very happy space,” said Manoj. Definitely, the industry-recognized his potential in ‘The Family Man’ but, it’s disappointing to see that an actor as talented and hardworking as him gained recognition only in recent times. Bajpayee is often regarded as a method actor and a director’s actor, known for his distinctive roles in the film. Director Ram Gopal Varma considers him to be “an education” for himself and said he is “simply the best actor I’ve ever worked with.” Shekhar Kapur, who directed him in Bandit Queen, recalls: “Manoj had the ability to portray a lot just by doing little. He never tried to overplay a scene and seemed totally comfortable with a minimalist statement.” According to director Hansal Mehta, Manoj “has the ability to transform himself like few others.

The Bollywood industry often fails to appreciate actors such as Manoj Bajpayee, Nawaquddin Siddique, and late Irfan Khan, and they have gained popularity without any commercial promotion, but solely on the roles given to them. These underrated actors deserve more than what they are being offered. It’s unfortunate and almost unforgivable that India’s best actor, someone who has single-handedly raised the bar for actors, isn’t paid and talked about enough. Bajpayee will be seen in the upcoming series ‘Ray’, a tribute to the greatest filmmaker Satyajit Ray and a Malayalam movie, ‘Kurup’ based on the life of Sukumara Kurup.









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