Mumbai Ka King Kaun? Bhiku Mhatre. This line from Ram Gopal Verma’s Satya has been immortalised by an actor who has had his share of ups and downs but has always come back through sheer ability.
Manoj Bajpayee is a method actor whom directors love to work with. He has inspired other actors like Kay Kay Menon, Nawazuddin Siddique and Irrfan Khan. Bajpayee himself credits Amitabh Bachchan, Naseerudin Shah and Raghubir Yadav as his role model.
Starting his career with bit roles, Satya was the turning point of his career. Then he had a bad run from 2002 to 2009 before making a comeback.
Here are five works of Manoj Bajpayee which underline his great acting abilities:
Cast: J D Chakravarthy, Urmila Matondkar, Manoj Bajpayee, Saurab Shukla, Shefali Shah
Director: Ram Gopal Verma
The story focuses on Satya (Chakravarthy) who comes to Mumbai in search of a job but lands up working in a dance bar. Crime becomes the next step after a moment of anger. He lands up in jail later where he meets Bhiku Mhatre (Bajpayee) and after an initial misunderstanding they become friends.
Satya falls in love with Vidya (Urmila) who is a budding singer. Satya helps her after she is rejected by a music director. Vidya is against crime and takes a firm stand as Satya gets into a tangle. This film achieved cult status and Bajpayee won many awards.
Cast: Vivek Oberoi, Antara Mali, Manoj Bajpayee
Director: Rajat Mukherjee
A couple, Arvind (Oberoi) and Lakshmi (Mali), are forced to flee after the latter’s father refuses to acknowledge their wedding plans. They decided to go to Arvind’s ancestral home in Rajasthan and get married there.
On their way through the desert they give a ride to a smooth talking hitch-hiker Babu (Bajpayee) who turns out to be a psychopath. The couple tries to get rid of him but he keeps turning up every time like a bad dream.
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Raveena Tandon, Sayaji Shinde, Shrivallabh Vyas
Director: Eeshwar Nivas
An honest policeman, Inspector Samar Pratap Singh (Bajpayee), believes in playing by the book and when he is transferred to a village in Bihar things get rough. He comes across an MLA Bachu Yadav (Shinde) who rules the area and creates fear.
The inspector faces many problems and when he arrests Yadav’s henchman they are promptly released by Yadav. Unfortunately, Samar’s wife and daughter get caught in the tangle and lose their lives. Then the Inspector decides to take things in his own hands
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Manoj Bajpayee, Raveena Tandon, Nandita Das, K K Raina
Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Inspector Manu Verma (Bachchan) locks horns with a shadowy killer Raghavan (Bajpayee) whose spirit enters the former. He begins to manipulate the cop and gets him to do things which he wished in life.
The cat and mouse game continues until the inspector finally manages to get rid of the killer’s spirit. But the killer has other plans. The film won critical acclaim but failed to set the box office on fire.
Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1 (2012)
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Jaideep Ahlawat, Nawazuddin Siddique, Reema Sen, Richa Chadda, Piyush Mishra, Huma Qureshi, Pankaj Tripathi
Director: Anurag Kashyap
The coal mafia in Dhanbad, Jharkhand, is under the spotlight from the 1940s to the 1990s where three families wage a bitter battle over the precious commodity coal. It highlights the power struggles, vengeance and politics which were played out during that time.
Sardar Khan (Bajpayee) is in the middle of everything as he plots to gain control. The two-part film was initially made as one but it was overly long which led to it being split into two parts. The excellent star cast gives a good account of themselves.