Man of the moment, Manoj Bajpayee, whom the audience cannot get enough of on their OTT screens, was the guest on Express e-Adda.
Bajpayee is the season’s current favourite– he captured the country’s imagination like never before with Amazon Prime Video series The Family Man in 2019 and went a notch higher with the show’s second season earlier this year.
But the golden run was not achieved overnight. Manoj Bajpayee’s current stardom is a result of decades of hard work, underlined by quiet hits, nationwide acclaim, crushing failures and the will to rise again.
Since his breakout role as Bhikhu Mahtre, a gangster with a big heart and a quick temper in Satya (1998), the Padma Shri recipient has consolidated his position as a powerhouse performer. He played a range of characters in films like Kaun (1999), Shool (1999), Zubeida (2001), Pinjar (2002), 1971 (2006) and Raajneeti (2010). His role of Sardar Khan in the much-talked-about Gangs of Wasseypur 1 (2012) only cemented his position further. Bajpayee delivered one of his career-best performances in Aligarh (2015), when he played the role of an ageing professor facing discrimination on account of his sexuality. In between several commercial outings such as Naam Shabana (2017) and Baaghi 2 (2017), he also delivered moving performances in Gali Guleiyan (2018) and Bhonsle (2018). Bajpayee won the National Film Award for Best Actor for his performance in Bhonsle.
His terrific performances notwithstanding, commercial success mostly eluded him. But as India woke up to storytelling on digital medium a few years ago, Manoj Bajpayee found the stardom he always deserved. In the absence of the box office yardstick for success, Bajpayee’s career bloomed in the long-form story format that didn’t demand immediate returns but audience’s attention for a long time.
The overwhelming success of The Family Man and Netflix’s Ray anthology are prime examples. And there seems to be no stopping Manoj Bajpayee.