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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

When Aiyaary actor Manoj Bajpayee donned the uniform for Shool

Manoj Bajpayee has donned the uniform several times before Aiyaary. In his 1999 National Award-winning cop drama, he played the role of a righteous police officer.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Delhi |
Updated: March 6, 2018 3:39:14 pm
Manoj Bajpayee in Shool Manoj Bajpayee had starred in the 1999 cop drama as a righteous Inspector.

Manoj Bajpayee and Sidharth Malhotra starrer Aiyaary hits the screens today. The Neeraj Pandey movie is the story of an ex-army officer (Sidharth) who plans to oust one of the country’s best kept secrets while his former mentor (Manoj) is out to stop him. This is not the first time Manoj will be seen in the uniform. Not an army officer, but the actor had played an inspector in the 1999 Ram Gopal Verma movie Shool.

Shool had won the National Award for Best Picture, and RGV (who has completely lost touch now) had written and produced the cop drama. Shool treads the thin line between melodramatic and mellow. There was drama, yes, but it was handled gently, with care. One of the most dramatic moments of the movie is the scene towards its conclusion, where Manoj’s character Samar Pratap Singh takes the law in his own hands and shoots corrupt politician Bacchu Yadav (played by Sayaji Shinde).

Manoj Bajpayee’s character delivers a four-minute monologue before taking the gun to Sayaji Shinde’s character Bacchu Yadav. The monolgue in itself is average, where the actor is supposed to have an angry and passionate go at the system and everything that is wrong with it. The dialogues of Shool were penned by the Gangs of Wasseypur director Anurag Kashyap. However, lines like “Kuch khatarnak ho raha hai yaha par” (A dangerous thing is taking place here) and “Hum kuch nahi hain” (I am nothing) were delivered with such helplessness and a sense of justice by Manoj that, when you watch the scene, you cannot help but feel the pain of Inspector Singh.

Manoj Bajpayee shines as he beats people, says righteous things, and expresses his discontentment with the government and its people. In the movie, Inspector Singh is a man of faith and law, who says, does, and believes in only the right things. And Inspector Singh’s biggest strength (and his biggest failing) is revealed when he puts to an end a celebration of antagonist Bacchu Yadav’s marriage anniversary. Singh storms into the venue where Shilpa Shetty is moving to the film’s dance number “Main Aayi Hoon UP Bihar Lootne” and demands that the blaring speakers be shut as the noise is disturbing the entire neighbourhood. Inspector Singh does what he does despite noticing that his senior has been invited to the event, and is himself taking no steps to take control of the situation as an officer of the law. In fact, Singh ignores his senior’s order when the latter asks him to take it easy.

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Manoj Bajpayee in Shool

Inspector Singh (Manoj) cannot take things lying down, and he cannot compromise on his principles. He is a cop who is beaten and tested by everyone around him as he tries to do his job. As a consequence, Singh loses his wife and daughter. They die on him, their blood on his hands. A common enough premise, but Manoj, not unlike Inspector Singh, does his work faithfully. Manoj Bajpayee, like he always has, delivers.

Eeshwar Nivas’ direction is decent, and the script, okay, but it could have gone down the hill had Manoj Bajpayee not been there. Sayaji Shinde as Bacchu Yadav also puts up a solid act as the crooked and scheming politician, but it’s Manoj’s performance as the fair police officer that escalates the movie.

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