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Manoj Bajpayee Birthday: Did You Know He Played The Same Character ‘Man Singh’ With Variations In Two Different Films?

ZEE5 Web Desk

April 20, 2021

5 min


Actor Manoj Bajpayee aced the character of Man Singh in Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen and Abhishek Chaubey’s Sonchiriya. The variations in both these acts stand itself for the actor’s versatility.

Every actor strives to achieve excellence in the art of performing. While many actors achieve the title of being ‘versatile, a few others fail to make it big. Whatever the scenario may be, each and every artist has a different story to convey. From ‘fading dreams’ to ‘achieving mastery’, an artist’s story can either be tragic or inspiring. And going on such similar lines, veteran actor Manoj Bajpayee’s journey as an artist has seen many ups and downs. However, it’s his uttermost dedication towards his art that makes him a beloved star of our times.

The actor celebrates his 52nd birthday today April 23). And on this special occasion, we thought of sharing some interesting stories about the actor that are quite inspiring. Bajpayee’s journey in the showbiz world can be marked by his prominent debut in Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen (1994) to now ruling the OTT world with his impressive and delightful acts. Throughout his prolific career, the actor has played a variety of path-breaking roles in Hindi Cinema and an in-depth discussion about it would go on for too long.

However, today on this very special day, we thought of giving you an overview of Bajpayee’s character Man Singh which the actor has played twice. And evaluating both these performances, you can discover the variation and the efforts he put in to play this role.

Man Singh In Bandit Queen

Source: Still from the film

Though Shekhar Kapur is not actively involved in making films now, the filmmaker’s 1994 film Bandit Queen remains to be the most realistic film ever made in Hindi Cinema. The film stayed in a lot of controversies at the time of its release and was banned temporarily. Based on true events, the film documents the story of Phoolan Devi, the lady bandit. While Seema Biswas’ performance as Phoolan is irreplaceable, Manoj Bajpayee’s character of Man Singh is no less than a silent bomb.

Before acting in Bandit Queen, Bajpayee had only appeared in the film Drohkaal with less than a minute screen presence. Also, in Bandit Queen, Man Singh’s character was not a prominent one but Bajpayee’s instrumental act left a lasting impression. While dacoits in films are always shown to be violent and macho, Bajpayee’s portrayal as Man Singh stole the show with silence.

Being a companion of Phoolan Devi, Man Singh’s character becomes a guiding light in her journey. Whether it’s Kapur’s choice or Bajpayee’s charm, the character of Man Singh in Bandit Queen became a pioneer of silent anti-heroes. There were not many dialogues for Bajpayee but he stole the show with his on-screen elegance. And that was just the beginning!

Man Singh (Dadda) In Sonchiriya

Source: ZEE5

On contrary to Bandit Queen, Man Singh in Sonchirya was at the forefront as the leader of the gang. In this dacoit drama, Bajpayee had some notable dialogues and epic comebacks that added to the boldness of Man Singh’s personality.  However, it is in Sonchiriya that we get a detailed insight into Man Singh’s character. Manoj Bajpayee uses his quirks to deliver a fearless Man Singh who also has a moral side.

As the title song of the film acts as a metaphor for the bandits’ divine treasure of Chambal, there’s a heartfelt conversation between Man Singh and Lakhna as they talk about their lives as bandits. Bajpayee delivers a dialogue saying, “Changing routes won’t change the curse. Once you’re cursed, you stay cursed!” And this is followed by utter silence which goes around for a couple of minutes. This scene itself speaks of Bajpayee’s versatile act.

Unlike his portrayal in Bandit Queen, Bajpayee’s Man Singh in Sonchiriya is more mature and lives up to the well-written dialogues. Though there are similar layers to this character, Manoj Bajpayee proves how an actor can bring in a much-needed change with his performance.

We wish the actor a great year ahead.

Meanwhile, stay tuned to ZEE5 for more interesting content and stories.


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