Manoj Bajpayee, also credited as Manoj Bajpai, is an Indian film actor who predominantly works in Hindi cinema and has also done Telugu and Tamil language films.
He is the recipient of two National Film Awards and four Filmfare Awards. In 2019, he was given India’s fourth-highest civilian honor Padma Shri for his contributions to art.
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 of 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 Shool (1999).
For the latter, he won his second Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor. Bajpayee further played a prince with two wives in Zubeidaa (2001), a serial killer in Aks (2001) and a hitchhiker-turned-psychopath killer in Road (2002).
- Full name: Manoj Bajpayee
- Profession: Indian film actor
- Born: 23 April 1969 (age 50 years), Belwa, East Champaran
- Height: 1.7 m
- Spouse: Neha (m. 2006)
- Upcoming movies: Extraction, Mumbai Saga
- Awards: Padma Shri and others
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About Manoj Bajpai
Bajpai was born on 23 April 1969 in a small village called Belwa near the town Narkatiaganj in West Champaran, Bihar, India.
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 fourth standard, and later did his basic schooling in Bettiah.
He completed his 12th class from Maharani Janaki College in Bettiah. He moved to New Delhi at the age of seventeen and went to Satyawati, then to Ramjas College, Delhi University.
Bajpayee had heard about the National School of Drama from actors such as Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah, so he applied. He was rejected three times and wanted to commit suicide afterwards.
He then did director and acting coach Barry John’s workshop after actor Raghubir Yadav’s suggestion. Impressed by Bajpayee’s acting, John hired him to assist him in his teaching.
After that he applied at the National School of Drama for the fourth time, and they offered him a teaching position at the school instead.
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. Born in what he calls a “devout Brahmin family”, Bajpayee describes himself as spiritual and a believer of Lord Shiva.