Karaara Zindagi, Karaara Jawaab!

Rejected three times, only to join the institution to teach, Manoj Bajpayee has a perfect bedtime story for all his grandchildren as his story is one of an adult fairy-tale. His Birth would also signal the birth of many of the overused lines from his films and series.
Manoj Bajpayee illustration

Manoj Bajpayee. Illustrated by Riya Kumari: Visual Storyteller at ThisDay

For some reason or the other, humans love a rags-to-riches story. No matter what one does in life, the essence of the fulfilment of years of hard work and dedication being rewarded always seems to hit those hormones. Some put themselves in the achiever's shoes, while some remain in awe of the struggles they face and conquer.

Manoj Bajpayee, well known today for many of his iconic roles in various films and series, was rejected by the National School of Drama 3 times! But there is also an iconic film-like twist, truly befitting the actor himself.

Born to a farmer, Bajpayee always had to struggle with money. He was named Manoj, after the legendary actor Manoj Kumar himself. It was pretty much evident that given his parents love for films, he would also develop a deep affinity which would, later on, become his passion.

Bajpayee would shift to Delhi where he would further his education. First from Satyawati and then Ramjas College in New Delhi. Meanwhile, his dreams would not be put on hold, as he had heard from famous actors like Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah about the prestigious National School of Drama. However, he would not be accepted by the institute as a suitable candidate, not one time, nor two, but three times!

Broken, Manoj Bajpayee could not really look for a reason to live, considering that even his marriage was broken due to his struggles. But who would have known, that a light was coming soon?

Like an anime protagonist, he went deep into training in Barry John's workshop, after actor Raghubir Yadav suggested him to do so. His arc was finally coming to a full circle when his teacher offered him a job to teach new students. The student became the teacher. Manoj was also finally accepted to the National School of Drama, not as a student, but as a teacher!

This was not all. Bajpayee would slowly develop his skills, as well as showcase them in various small roles. A role of a dacoit in the film Bandit Queen and his one-minute role in Govind Nihalani's Drohkaal being the most prominent and well known.

Well known in Gangs of Wasseypur, Rajneeti, Special 26 and many more films, his contrasting roles would be awarded several awards. One of which was the Padma Shri which he received in 2019.

His foot was set in the industry, and from then Manoj would play minor roles, major roles, flopped roles and even award-winning roles! His journey would not be of glitz and glamour, but one of struggle, which was even portrayed in his acting, as he normally played roles related to the streets of India.

Acting skills top-notch, raw and rustic emotions, along with his dialogue delivery would make his every role memorable.

Needless to say Manoj Bajpayee stands as one of the best actors in the Bollywood of the present era.


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