Manoj Bajpayee; this name is enough to pull you towards a film or a web-series since you know that a power-packed performance is in store for you. From starting his career with four rejections at National School of Drama (NSD) to becoming a three-time recipient of the National Film Awards, the actor's journey is inspiring to the core.
In his career spanning more than two decades, Manoj Bajpayee has dabbled with roles belonging to various genres. But when it comes to pulling off characters with grey shades, the supremely talented actor knows how to hit the bullseye. Interestingly, Manoj says he doesn't believe in the word 'villain'.
In one of his past interviews with Hindustan Times, the Padmi Shri awardee was quoted as saying, "If you give me a negative character, I try finding something positive around it. And if you give me a positive character, my job is to find some flaws with his personality. Because no one is perfect and no one is purely evil either. All of us, we have shades of grey."
As Manoj Bajpayee turns 52 today (April 23, 2021), we bring five of his films in which he left a lasting impression as an anti-hero.
'Mumbai ka king kaun? Bhiku Mhatre!' Just like this dialogue mouthed by his character in Ram Gopal Varma's gangster cult film Satya, Manoj Bajpayee too, proved that he is the ultimate king when it comes to nailing grey characters. Touted to be one of his career-defining performances, Satya's Bhiku Mhatre is a favourite with every Manoj Bajpayee fan. No wonder, even Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan couldn't stop gushing over Manoj after watching this film!
In Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's supernatural thriller Aks, Manoj essayed the role of Raghavan Ghatge, a criminal who dies and is reincarnated in the body of Manu Verma (Amitabh Bachchan). As the epitome of all that's evil and dark, the actor sent shivers down people's spine with his voice.
Gangs Of Wasseypur
It wouldn't be wrong to say that Gangs Of Wasseypur is another landmark film in Manoj Bajpayee's career. We can't imagine any other actor pulling off the role of the ruthless, immoral and lusty Sardar Khan as effectively as Manoj!
"For 15-20 days of the shoot, I didn't interact with anyone. I later told my co-stars Richa Chadha and Nawazuddin Siddiqui that I am trying something risky. I want the viewer to forget he is watching Manoj Bajpayee; it should only dawn on him after he has left the theatre. My inspiration was Iranian cinema, where the actors are so natural, they are real people. I had to unlearn the craft and look so real that it should not feel like acting," Bajpayee had opened up about his preparation for this film in an interview with Mint.
Remember Manoj Bajpayee's role of Veerendra Pratap, the Duryodhan-like character in Prakash Jha's political drama Raajneeti? As a shrewd politician in the film, the actor made us marvel at his acting prowess while he dug deep into the complexities of his character.
Tiger Shroff's Ramboesque Ronnie in Baaghi 2 found his perfect nemesis in the sly DIG Ajay Shergill (played by Manoj Bajpayee). The latter with his mind games, created havoc in Ronnie's life and forced him to go 'Baaghi' for his lady love. The film was panned by a certain section of critics, but one must say, Manoj did manage to churn out an engaging performance.
Filmibeat wishes Manoj Bajpayee a very happy birthday!