Manoj Bajpayee @ 50: Five breakthrough characters he’s essayed


Known for his effective roles and unconventional movies, the powerhouse of acting, Manoj Bajpayee hits the golden jubilee of his life on 23rd April. In his acting career spanning nearly 25 years, the actor par excellence has proved his worth time and again. Most of his films and especially his characters have gained enormous critical success. His master craftsmanship in bringing his characters to life is highly appreciated. We can very rightly call him one of the finest Bollywood actors of all time.

Bajpayee is the recipient of two National Film Awards, four Filmfare Awards and one Asia Pacific Screen Award. He also received India’s fourth highest civilian award, Padma Shri, for his contributions to art this year. As the actor turns 50, looks back at five of his breakthrough roles, among many others.

Bhiku Mhatre in ‘Satya’ (1998) – Ram Gopal Varma’s cult crime fiction film is considered to be Bajpayee’s big Bollywood break and rightly so. His brilliant representation of the daring, formidable and steadfast Marathi speaking gangster, ‘Mumbai Ka King’, crowned him with a national award and brought him critical and commercial success. He stole the thunder in the film through the effortless depiction of the many layers of his character. His initial big stint in itself made it clear that the man is here to stay.

Rashid in ‘Pinjar’ (2003) – The movie adaptation of Amrita Pritam’s novel witnessed yet another national award winning performance from the actor. He plays an abductor who is forced by his family to commit the act of kidnapping the female protagonist, Puro played by Urmila Matondkar. Rashid’s guilt chases him throughout the course of the film and Bajpayee shines through his portrayal of the character. He successfully brings out the emotional and psychological complexities of a well-written role, making the audience fall in love with the character.

Sardar Khan in ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ (2012) – Anurag Kashyap’s crime drama saw Bajpayee getting into the skin of the character showcasing his acting prowess once again. He essays his character’s behavioral patterns, rage, violence and vendetta with extreme intricacy and dedication. He makes the viewers a part of the character’s lifestyle, brings to life the essence of gang culture and leaves a mark in every single moment of his onscreen presence. His performance earned him immense appreciation with some considering the role his best till date.

Balram Singh in ‘Satyagraha’ (2013) – It isn’t always easy to make a negative role count. Bringing out the darker shades in a character and making viewers appreciate the same is certainly challenging. But like every time, Bajpayee was acknowledged for his striking performance in this film. Although Prakash Jha’s political drama failed to garner complete positive reviews, the corrupted, malevolent politician as played by Bajpayee ruled the hearts of the audience through the breathtaking presentation.

Ramchandra Siras in ‘Aligarh’ (2016) – One of his more recent works, saw Manoj Bajpayee as a Marathi Professor of Aligarh University in Professor Ramchandra Siras’ biopic. This film is yet another example of how the power of his acting has only grown stronger over the years. Based on true events, Bajpayee’s portrayal of the character’s tragedy and pathos is nothing short of beautiful. He once again made the audience feel for his role, also urging them to stand in solidarity for equality. wishes Manoj Bajpayee a very happy birthday and hopes he continues to win more hearts with his impeccable acting skills!

– Varsha Roy

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