Manoj Bajpayee Biography – The Inevitable Indian Actor made ‘Banda’ Memorable!

Manoj Bajpayee, also transliterated as Manoj Bajpai is an Indian actor who predominantly works in Hindi cinema and has also done Telugu and Tamil language films.

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Real Name: Manoj Bajpayee
Profession: Indian Actor
Birthplace: Narkatiaganj, Bihar, India
Spouse: Shabana Raza
Age: 58

Manoj Bajpayee (born 23 April 1965), also transliterated as Manoj Bajpai is an Indian actor who predominantly works in Hindi cinema and has also done Telugu and Tamil language films. Widely regarded as one of the finest actors of Hindi cinema or Bollywood, he is the recipient of three National Film Awards, six Filmfare Awards, and two Asia Pacific Screen Awards. In 2019, he was awarded India’s fourth-highest civilian honor, the Padma Shri, for his contributions to art.

Born in Belwa, a small village near the city of Bettiah in West Champaran district Bihar, Bajpayee aspired to become an actor since childhood. He relocated to Delhi at the age of seventeen, and applied for the National School of Drama, only to be rejected four times. He continued to do theatre while studying in college. Bajpayee made his feature film debut with a one-minute role in Drohkaal (1994) and a minor role as a dacoit in Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen (1994). After a few unnoticed roles, he played the gangster Bhiku Mhatre in Ram Gopal Varma‘s 1998 crime drama Satya, which proved to be a breakthrough. Bajpayee received the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor and Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor for the film. He then acted in films such as Kaun. (1999) and School (1999). For the latter, he won his second Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor.

Bajpayee won the Special Jury National Award for Pinjar (2003). This was followed by a series of brief, unnoticed roles in films that failed to propel his career forward. He then played a greedy politician in the political thriller Raajneeti (2010), which was highly appreciated. In 2012, Bajpayee played the critically acclaimed lead character Sardar Khan in Gangs of Wasseypur. His next roles were as a Naxalite in Chakravyuh (2012), and a CBI officer in Special 26 (2013). In 2016, he portrayed Professor Ramchandra Siras, in Hansal Mehta’s biographical drama Aligarh, for which he won his third Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor and the Best Actor Award at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards in 2016. He won the National Film Award for Best Actor at the 67th National Film Awards for his performance in the film Bhonsle. He also won Filmfare OTT Award for Best Actor, for The Family Man (2021).

Manoj Bajpayee Biography
Manoj Bajpayee Biography
Manoj Bajpayee Biography
Born 23 April 1965 (age 58)

Narkatiaganj, Bihar, India
Other names Manoj Bajpai
Occupation Actor
Years active 1993–present
Works Full list
Shabana Raza (m. 2006)
Children 1
Awards Full List
Honors Padma Shri (2019)

Early and Personal Life (Manoj Bajpayee Biography)

Bajpayee was born in a pious Hindu Brahmin family on 23 April 1969 in a small village called Belwa near the city of Bettiah in West Champaran, Bihar. He is the second child among his five other siblings and was named after actor Manoj Kumar. One of his younger sisters Poonam Dubey is a fashion designer in the film industry. His father was a farmer and his mother was a housewife. As a son of a farmer, Bajpayee would do farming during their vacation. Since childhood, he wanted to become an actor.

His father had difficulty collecting money for their education. He studied in a “hut school” till the fourth standard, and later did his schooling at Khrist Raja High School, Bettiah. He completed his 12th class at Maharani Janaki Kunwar College in Bettiah.

Bajpayee was married to a girl from Delhi but got divorced during his period of struggle. He met actress Shabana Raza, who is also known as Neha, right after her debut film Kareeb (1998). The couple married in 2006 and they have a daughter.

Manoj_Bajpayee with his Family
Manoj Bajpayee with his Family

Career (Manoj Bajpayee Biography)

1994–2001: Debut and breakthrough

Following his one-minute role in Govind Nihalani’s Drohkaal (1994), Bajpayee acted in the biographical drama Bandit Queen (1994). Tigmanshu Dhulia, the casting director of the film suggested his name to its director Shekhar Kapur. Bajpai was considered for the role of dacoit Vikram Mallah in the film, which eventually went to Nirmal Pandey. Bajpayee got the role of Dacoit Mann Singh in the film. During that time, he also did a television serial called Kalakaar, directed by Hansal Mehta and Imtihaan (Doordarshan).

Bajpayee was a struggling actor when Mahesh Bhatt offered him the soap opera Swabhimaan (1995), which aired on Doordarshan. He agreed to do the serial at a low fee. Next, Bajpayee appeared in minor roles in films such as Dastak (1996) and Tamanna (1997). Director Ram Gopal Varma discovered Bajpayee when he was casting for Daud (1997), a comedy film, where he had a supporting role. Following the completion of the filming, Varma expressed his regret for offering Bajpayee a minor role. He then promised Bajpayee a prominent role in his next filmSatya (1998), a crime drama, was their next film together. In the film, Bajpayee played gangster Bhiku Mhatre, who accompanies the title character to form their nexus in the Mumbai underworld.

The year 2000 started for Bajpayee with the comedy Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar!! and the crime drama Ghaath, both alongside Tabu. A dialogue from the former sparked controversy in some political parties. Bajpayee’s first release in 2001 was Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s supernatural thriller Aks. His negative portrayal of Raghavan Ghatge, a criminal who dies and is reincarnated in the body of Manu Verma (played by Amitabh Bachchan), garnered him the Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role nomination. It was followed by Shyam Benegal’s Zubeidaa, co-starring Rekha and Karisma Kapoor. He played Maharaja Vijayendra Singh of Fatehpur, a polo enthusiast prince with two wives. His character was inspired by Hanwant Singh, the Maharaja of Jodhpur.

2002–09: Career struggle

Bajpayee’s sole release in 2002 was the road thriller Road. He played the antagonist in the film, a hitchhiker who turns out to be a psychopathic killer, after taking a lift from a couple (played by Vivek Oberoi and Antara Mali). Bajpayee received another Filmfare nomination for Best Performance in a Negative Role, for the film. Pinjar (2003), a period drama, set during the partition of India, was Bajpayee’s first release of the year. Directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi, the film was based on a Punjabi novel of the same name. He received the National Film Special Jury Award for his performance in the film. He subsequently portrayed Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav in J. P. Dutta’s ensemble war film LOC: Kargil. It was based on the Kargil War, and Bajpayee was nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for it. Both films were commercially unsuccessful.

Bajpayee’s shoulder got injured while filming the Telugu film Vedam and was absent from the screen for nearly two years. He then returned to a major role with the comedy Jugaad (2009), which was based on the 2006 Delhi sealing drive incident. His next release was the mystery thriller Acid Factory (2009), which was a remake of the 2006 American film Unknown. He played the comic role of one of the people who are kidnapped and locked in a factory with no memory of how they came there. The film did not do well at the box office. The string of financial failures continued with his next release. In Madhur Bhandarkar‘s Jail (2009), he played a convict serving life imprisonment. He called his role a “narrator” and “mentor” of its protagonist (played by Neil Nitin Mukesh).

2010–present: Raajneeti and Beyond

In 2010, Bajpayee starred in Prakash Jha’s big-budget ensemble political thriller RaajneetiNikhat Kazmi of The Times of India in her review mentioned that Bajpayee “[..] grab[s] eyeballs in [his] scenes” and “brings back memories of his mesmeric performances.” Indian trade journalists were apprehensive of Raajneeti recovering its ₹600 million (US$7.5 million) investment. The film, however, proved to be a major commercial success, with worldwide earnings of over ₹1.43 billion (US$18 million). Bajpayee received a Best Supporting Actor nomination at Filmfare for the film. He then acted in two Telugu films; Vedam (2010) and Puli (2010), followed by the comedy Dus Tola (2010). He also provided the voice of Rama in the animated film Ramayana: The Epic, which was based on the Indian epic Ramayana.

In 2013, Bajpayee had five releases: Samar, his Tamil debut film, was the first release. He appeared in a supporting role in the film. He then appeared in Neeraj Pandey‘s heist thriller Special 26. Based on the 1987 Opera House heist, he portrayed a CBI officer in the film. It was followed by the crime film Shootout at Wadala, where he played a character inspired by the gangster Shabir Ibrahim Kaskar. Bajpayee collaborated with Prakash Jha for the fourth time with Satyagraha. The film was loosely inspired by social activist Anna Hazare‘s fight against corruption in 2011, featuring an ensemble cast, the film was highly anticipated by trade journalists due to its release coinciding with the Mumbai and Delhi gang rape public protests. Satyagraha earned ₹675 million (US$8.5 million) domestically. Bajpayee then provided the voice of Yudhishthira for Mahabharat, a 3D animation film based on the Indian epic of the same name. In 2014, Bajpayee played the antagonist in the Tamil action film Anjaan.

Bajpayee continued to play negative roles in his next film Tevar (2015). A remake of the 2003 Telugu film Okkadu, the film opened to negative reviews and was a box office failure. The same year, he along with Raveena Tandon, appeared in the patriotic-themed short film Jai Hind. With a run-time of 6 minutes, the film was released on YouTube by OYO Rooms, right before the Indian Independence Day. Bajpayee acted in another short film titled Taandav in 2016. Directed by Devashish Makhija, the film showcased the pressure and scenarios faced by an honest police constable and was released on YouTube. The same year, he portrayed Professor Ramchandra Siras, in Hansal Mehta‘s biographical drama Aligarh. The story followed the life of a homosexual professor who was expelled from Aligarh Muslim University because of his sexuality. Bajpayee watched a few clippings of Siras to prepare for his role. The film was screened at the 20th Busan International Film Festival and the 2015 Mumbai Film Festival. Aligarh was released on 26 February 2016 to positive reviews. Bajpayee won the Best Actor award at the 10th Asia Pacific Screen Awards and his third Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor. He next played a traffic constable in Rajesh Pillai‘s swan song Traffic (2016). A remake of the Malayalam film of the same name, the film was released on 6 May 2016. His subsequent release of the year was the biographical sports film Budhia Singh – Born to Run, where he played the coach of Budhia Singh; the world’s youngest marathon runner. It was followed by the comedy film Saat Uchakkey (2016) and the short film Ouch directed by Neeraj Pandey.

In Devashish Makhija’s Bhonsle, Bajpayee played a terminally ill retired Mumbai cop who befriends a North Indian girl when the locals are trying to get rid of the migrants in the city. The film and his performance met with positive responses from critics with Namrata Joshi calling his acting “astounding in his internalization of Bhonsle and acts with not just his face but by deploying his whole body.” The role earned him his first National Film Award for Best Actor and second Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Performance by an Actor.

In 2019, he was given India’s fourth highest civilian honor Padma Shri for his contributions to art. The same year he portrayed dacoit Man Singh in Abhishek Chaubey‘s action film Sonchiriya. Raja Sen in his review wrote that Bajpayee is “excellent as a rebel chief.” Later, he appeared in the spy action drama web series The Family Man, directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K. Bajpayee played the role of Srikant Tiwari, a middle-class man who secretly works for an intelligence agency. The series and his performance received positive response from critics with Rohit Naahar of Hindustan Times writing: “Manoj Bajpayee is, as he usually tends to be, effortlessly excellent.” He won the Critics Choice Best Actor, Drama Series Award at the 2020 Filmfare OTT Awards.

In 2020, Bajpayee did a supporting role in Shirish Kunder’s crime thriller film Mrs. Serial Killer, co-starring Jacqueline Fernandez. The film, which was released on Netflix, met with a negative response. His final release of the year was the comedy flick Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari alongside Diljit Dosanjh and Fatima Sana Shaikh. It was the first film to release theatrically in India after nearly eight months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The next year, he narrated the Discovery+ documentary show Secrets of Sinauli, directed by Neeraj Pandey. Bajpayee also appeared as a cop trying to solve a murder case in the thriller Silence… Can You Hear It? The film was released on ZEE5 and met with mixed critical feedback.

Manoj Bajpayee Biography
Manoj Bajpayee Biography

Acting style and influence

Bajpayee is a method actor and a director’s actor and is known for his unconventional roles in films. Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui has cited Bajpayee’s performance in Aks (2001 film) as the inspiration for his role as the antagonist in Kick (2014). Bajpayee has also been vocal about the disparity in the pay he commands, in comparison to the top actors in the film industry. He has cited Amitabh Bachchan, Naseeruddin Shah, and Raghubir Yadav as his inspirations.

Director Ram Gopal Varma considers him to be “an education” for himself and said he is “simply the best actor I’ve ever worked with.” Shekhar Kapur, who directed him in Bandit Queen, recalls: “Manoj had the ability to portray a lot just by doing little. He never tried to overplay a scene and seemed totally comfortable with a minimalist statement.” According to director Hansal Mehta, Manoj “has the ability to transform himself like few others.”

Bajpayee’s performance as Bhiku Mhatre in Satya is considered to be one of the most memorable characters of Hindi cinema, along with his dialogue in it: “Mumbai ka king kaun? Bhiku Mhatre” (Who is the king of Mumbai? Bhiku Mhatre). Kay Kay Menon credits this character as a turning point for other method actors: “If it were not for Manoj’s brilliant performance in Satya, actors like Irrfan and me might still be waiting to be accepted. Manoj opened the doors for us.” Writing about the character in his book Popcorn Essayists, journalist-writer Jai Arjun Singh wrote that “the “earthiness” and the “authenticity” [of the character], was the subtle result of a persistence in Bajpai’s performance.”

Filmography (Manoj Bajpayee Biography)


Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Film Role Notes
1994 Bandit Queen Dacoit Man Singh
Drohkaal Anand
1996 Dastak Avinash Banerjee
Sanshodhan Bhanwar
1997 Tamanna Salim
Daud Pushkar
1998 Satya Bhiku Mhatre
1999 Prema Katha Sankaram Telugu film
Kaun Sameer A. Purnavale
Shool Inspector Samar Pratap Singh
2000 Fiza Murad Khan
Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar Ram Saran Pandey
Ghaath Krishna Patil
2001 Zubeidaa Maharaja Vijayendra Singh
Aks Raghavan Ghatge
2002 Road Babu
2003 Pinjar Rashid
LOC Kargil Yogendra Singh Yadav
2004 Hanan Pagla/Shamsher
Jaago Inspector Kripa Shankar Thakur
Veer-Zaara Raza Sharazi
Inteqam: The Perfect Game ACP Uday Dhirendra Thakur
2005 Return to Rajapur Jai Singh
Bewafaa Dil Arora
Fareb Aditya Malhotra
2006 Happy DCP Arvind Telugu film
2007 1971 Major Suraj Singh
Swami Swami
Dus Kahaniyaan Saahil
2008 Money Hai Toh Honey Hai Lallabhai Bharodia
2009 Jugaad Sandip
Acid Factory Sultan
Jail Nawab
2010 Puli Al Saleem
Vedam Raheemuddin Qureshi
Raajneeti Veerendra Pratap
Ramayana: The Epic Rama Voice
Dus Tola Shankar Sunar
2011 Aarakshan Mithilesh Singh
Lanka Jaswant Sisodia
2012 Chittagong Surya Sen
Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1 Sardar Khan
Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 2 Sardar Khan
Chakravyuh Rajan
2013 Samar Rajesh Arunachalam Tamil film
Special 26 CBI Officer Waseem Khan
Shootout at Wadala Shabir Ibrahim Kaskar
Satyagraha Balram Singh
Mahabharat Yudhisthira Voice
2014 Anjaan Imran Bhai Tamil film
2015 Tevar Gajendar Singh
Jai Hind Husband Short film
2016 Taandav Tambe Short film
Aligarh Ramchandra Siras
Traffic Constable Ramdas Godbole
Kriti Sapan Short film
Budhia Singh – Born to Run Biranchi Das
Saat Uchakkey Pappi
Ouch Vinay Short film
2017 Naam Shabana Ranveer Singh
Sarkar 3 Govind Deshpande
Rukh Divakar Mathur
2018 Aiyaary Colonel Abhay Singh
Baaghi 2 DIG Ajay Shergill
Missing Sushant Dubey Also Producer
Satyameva Jayate DCP Shivansh Rathod
Gali Guleiyan Khuddoos
Love Sonia Faizal
Bhonsle Ganpath Bhonsle Also Producer
2019 Sonchiriya Man Singh
2020 Mrs. Serial Killer Dr. Mrityunjoy Mukerjee
Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari Madhu Mangal Rane
2021 Silence… Can You Hear It? ACP Avinash Verma
Dial 100 Nikhil Sood
2023 Gulmohar Arun Batra
Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai Advocate P. C. Solanki
Despatch TBA Post-production
Joram TBA Filming

Television (Manoj Bajpayee Biography)

Year Title Role Notes
1993 Shikast N/A
1993 Hum Bambai Nahin Jayenge N/A
1994 Kalakaar N/A
1995 Imtihaan N/A
Swabhimaan Sunil
Kurukshetra N/A
1996 Badalte Rishte Arvind Verma
1997 Gaatha N/A
2005–2006 Kam Ya Zyaada Host
2019–present The Family Man Srikant Tiwari
2021 Secrets Of Sinauli Narrator Documentary
Ray Musafir Ali Segment: Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa
2022 Secrets of the Kohinoor Narrator Documentary
2023 Farzi Srikant Tiwari Voiceover
Soup Prabhakar Post-production

Music videos

Title Year Role Notes
“Bambai Main Ka Ba” 2020 Himself Also singer
“Kudi Meri” 2022
Manoj Bajpayee Biography
Manoj Bajpayee Biography

Awards and nominations (Manoj Bajpayee Biography)

Major associations

National Film Awards

Year⁣ Work⁣ Category⁣ Result⁣
1999⁣ Satya Best Supporting Actor⁣ Won⁣
2004⁣ Pinjar Special Jury Award (Feature Film)⁣ Won⁣
2021⁣ Bhonsle Best Actor⁣ Won⁣

Filmfare Awards

Year⁣ Work⁣ Category⁣ Result⁣
1999⁣ Satya Best Supporting Actor⁣ Nominated⁣
Best Actor (Critics)⁣ Won⁣
2000⁣ Shool Won⁣
Best Actor⁣ Nominated⁣
2002⁣ Aks Best Performance in a Negative Role⁣ Nominated⁣
2003⁣ Road Nominated⁣
2004⁣ LOC: Kargil Best Supporting Actor⁣ Nominated⁣
2011 Raajneeti Nominated⁣
2013⁣ Gangs of Wasseypur Best Actor⁣ Nominated⁣
2017⁣ Aligarh Best Actor (Critics) Won⁣
Taandav⁣ Best Actor In A Short Film⁣⁣ Won⁣

Asia Pacific Screen Awards⁣

Year⁣ Work⁣ Category⁣ Result⁣
2012 Gangs of Wasseypur Best Performance by an Actor⁣ Nominated⁣
2016 Aligarh Won⁣
2019 Bhonsle Won⁣

Industry Awards (Manoj Bajpayee Biography)

IIFA Awards⁣

Year⁣ Work⁣ Category⁣ Result⁣
2001⁣ Fiza Best Performance in a Negative Role Nominated⁣
2002⁣ Aks Nominated
2011⁣ Raajneeti Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2013⁣ Gangs of Wasseypur Best Actor Nominated
2022 Bhonsle Nominated

Filmfare OTT Awards

Year⁣ Work⁣ Category⁣ Result⁣
2020 Bhonsle Best Actor in A Web Original Film Nominated
The Family Man 1 Best Actor In A Drama Series Nominated
Best Actor In A Drama Series (Critics)⁣ Won⁣
2021 The Family Man 2 Won⁣
Best Actor In A Drama Series Nominated
Ray Best Actor in A Web Original Film⁣ Nominated

Producers Guild Film Awards⁣

Year⁣ Work⁣ Category⁣ Result⁣
2011 Raajneeti Best Actor in a Negative Role⁣ Nominated⁣
2016 Tevar Nominated⁣

Screen Awards⁣

Year⁣ Work⁣ Category⁣ Result⁣
1999 Satya Best Supporting Actor⁣ Won⁣
2002⁣ Aks Best Actor in a Negative Role⁣ Won⁣
2003⁣ Road Nominated⁣
2004 Pinjar Best Supporting Actor⁣ Nominated⁣
2013⁣ Gangs of Wasseypur Best Actor⁣ Nominated⁣
2017⁣ Aligarh Best Actor (Critics)⁣ Nominated⁣

Zee Cine Awards

Year⁣ Work⁣ Category⁣ Result⁣
1999 Satya Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Male⁣ Won⁣
2002⁣ Aks Best Performance in a Negative Role⁣ Won⁣
2017⁣ Aligarh Best Actor (Critics)⁣ Nominated⁣

Festival awards

Year⁣ Festival Work⁣ Category⁣ Result⁣
2016 Jagran Film Festival Aligarh Best Actor Won
2018 New York Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival Gali Guleiyan Won
2021⁣ Indian Film Festival of Melbourne⁣ The Family Man Best Actor in a Web Series⁣ Won⁣

Other awards (Manoj Bajpayee Biography)

Year⁣ Award Work⁣ Category⁣ Result⁣
2013 Stardust Awards Best Actor Gangs of Wasseypur Won
2020 Asian Academy Creative Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role The Family Man Nominated
2021 FOI Online Awards Bhonsle Won

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