When you watch certain actors onscreen, you feel spellbound with their acting performances. The duration of the role does not matter to such actors. They can leave their impact in one scene also. Actors like Late Irrfan Khan, Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Pankaj Tripathi can be put into that league. Watching them is an education for young actors. If you watch their acting performances in their films, you will notice the small nuances in their body language, lingo and expressions have been added by them to their characters. Manoj Bajpayee is an acting institution in himself. Today all young actors look up to him.
Manoj Bajpayee raises the bar of commercial cinema also with his presence. We saw that in director Amit Sharma’s ‘Tevar’ (2015), Neeraj Pandey’s ‘Aiyaary’ (2018) and Ahmed Khan’s ‘Baaghi 2’ (2018) in recent past films with younger actors like Arjun Kapoor, Sidharth Malhotra and Tiger Shroff. He has maintained a good balance with the off the road cinema and mainstream films in the last twenty-five years. As an actor, he has never limited himself. For example, he has played a cop role several times but each of the characters will be different from each other.
He came to the limelight with the character of Gangster Bhiku Makre in Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Satya’ in 1998. Manoj Bajpayee won several accolades for the film. Post that success, he kept impressing us with interesting performances over the years with films like, ‘Kaun?’ (1999), ‘Shool’ (1999), ‘Aks’ (2001), ‘Road’ (2002), ‘Pinjar’ (2003), ‘1971’ (2007), ‘Swami’ (2007), ‘Rajneeti’ (2010), ‘Aarakshan’ (2011), ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ (2012), ‘Special 26’ (2013), ‘Budhia Singh–Born to Run’ (2016), ‘Aligarh’ (2016), ‘Bhonsle’ (2018) and ‘Sonchiriya’ (2019).
As an actor, you can be proud of the repertoire of roles he has done. His roles have a good variety. He has never caught the image that he needs to play only positive roles. He has done several roles with negative and grey shades. But he still makes you love him with those characters. He has a certain magic as an artist.
Manoj Bajpayee can be a scene stealer with his presence. We have seen in ‘Aks’ (2001), ‘Aarakshan’ (2011) and ‘Satyagraha’ (2013) with the great legend Amitabh Bachchan. You can notice the same in Yash Chopra’s directed ‘Veer-Zaara’ (2004). He has a small role (Raza Sharaji) but left his impact in a crucial scene with Shah Rukh Khan. In ‘Special 26’ (2013) also, he had an important scene with Akshay Kumar but again, he steals the show. Whenever he comes on the screen, you feel like only watching him. He leaves that impact as an actor.
Despite working mostly in offbeat cinema, he has worked opposite some of the top actresses such as Raveena Tandon, Urmila Matondkar, Tabu, Shilpa Shetty, Karisma Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, etc. Manoj Bajpayee comes from a meagre background from Belwa, Bihar but making a niche for himself in the film industry and surviving well for the last twenty-five years is no mean achievement. He has made risky choices as an actor with doing films, which may have great critical acclaim but may miss at the box office. He did not allow the box office to dictate his terms as an actor. He made his own road to success and fame.
His web series ‘The Family Man 2’ (2021) directed by Raj & D.K. on Amazon Prime has been getting rave reviews. Manoj Bajpayee in the role of Srikanth Tiwari has been top notch. He can make you smile with sarcastic humor in his role and is intense in high emotional scenes. He is one of the great living legends of Indian cinema and an institution in himself.
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