Manoj Bajpayee, Varun Dhawan and Moushumi Chatterjee: Three Gifted Actors

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Three Taureans, Manoj Bajpayee, Varun Dhawan and Moushumi Chatterjee, celebrate their birthdays this week. Manoj had to deal with initial rejections and struggles, he was noticed by the acting coach, Barry John. The National School of Drama (NSD) that rejected his applications thrice as an entrant, appointed him as a faculty. Varun and Moushumi, however, were noticed from their debut films. Once the cine industry accepted them as actors, there was no looking back for all of them. Smriti profiles the three actors, in the regular column, exclusively in Different Truths. We, the entire DT family, wish them Happy Birthday.   

Manoj Bajpayee, A Versatile Actor, Satya was his Milestone Film

“Mumbai ka raja kaun…Bhiku Mhatre”…the actor rendering this dialogue in Ramgopal Verma’s Satya, is indeed the king of awards. With many prestigious awards under his belt, Manoj Bajpai is one of the finest actors of Indian cinema.

Born on 23rd April, in the small village of Belwa, in Bihar, Manoj was the second child among his five siblings. His father named him after actor Manoj Kumar.  Manoj’s father was not very sound financially, so Manoj studied in very modest schools. After completing 12th, Manoj moved to Delhi, went to Satyawati, then Ramjas College of the Delhi University. He also applied to the National School Drama thrice, but all the three applications were rejected, and, so depressed was he by these rejections that he even thought of committing suicide.

But fate had his paths defined. He attended a workshop of director and acting coach, Barry John, who impressed by his talent, hired him to assist him in teaching. After joining Barry John, Manoj again applied to the NSD and was offered a teacher’s job instead. These recognitions did not make things any easier for him. He had a long struggle awaiting him, to reach, where he is today.

Manoj started doing both films and television, simultaneously. His initial Bollywood recognition came for his portrayal of dacoit Mann Singh, in   Shekhar Kapoor’s Bandit Queen. Thereafter, he did minor roles in films and did a TV serial Swabhimaan by Mahesh Bhatt. He even did a supporting role in Ramgopal Verma’s Daud, and impressed Verma so much so, that, he offered him the role of Bhiku Mhatre, in his next movie Satya.

Satya was the turning point in Manoj’s career. His portrayal of a gangster in the film won him many awards and critical acclaim too. He won the National Award for the Best Supporting Actor and the Filmfare Best Actor award, for his portrayal of Bhiku Mhatre.  Filmfare even included this performance of Manoj, in the 2010 issue of Bollywood’s ‘Top 80 Iconic Performances’.

From here on, Manoj has essayed many roles, which, accomplish his versatility. Be it the suffocated, tied up an honest police officer in Shool, or a negative portrayal of a criminal in the supernatural thriller Aks or the Royal Maharaja in Zubeidaa, he plays them with ease and enchants the audiences by his intense acting. His portrayal of a greedy politician in Prakash Jha’s Rajneeti was equally mesmerising.

With two National Film Awards and three Filmfare Awards, Manoj Bajpayee is all set to hit the silver screen, with more powerful performances, in his upcoming films, such as Sarkar 3 and Aiyaari.

We, in Different Truths, wish all the happiness and more fame to Manoj on his 48th birthday, this year.

Varun Dhawan, a Talented Actor makes his mark in Bollywood       

Creativity and acting skills were gifted to him by his genes. Varun Dhawan belongs to a family of creative lineage. His father David Dhawan and brother Rohit Dhawan are successful directors, whereas his uncle Anil Dhawan is a renowned actor. Unlike other star sons, he was not launched by his father but by Karan Johar, in the year 2012 in Student of the Year. The film was also the debut of two other actors, Siddharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt, daughter of renowned director Mahesh Bhatt. The film had huge box office success, the critics raved about Varun’s performance and he was the new heartthrob of the young girls. Prior to his debut, Varun assisted Karan Johar and studied Business Management from the Nottingham Trent University.

Since then, this Taurean, who is a huge fan of wrestling, and shares his birthday with his favourite sportsperson Sachin Tendulkar, on the 24th of April, has no looking back. His next release, Main Tera Hero has been directed by his father David Dhawan, who has many comedy hits to his credit. The film was successful commercially and Varun was lauded for his comic timings. Main Tera Hero was followed by another hit movie Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, which too was a romantic comedy, but Varun was noticed for his ability to emote in the intense, and, sensitive scenes too. His portrayal of a revenge-seeking husband and father, in Sriram Raghwan’s Badlapur, showcased Dhawan’s versatility as an actor. Raja Sen of praised Dhawan’s acting range, writing that he “sheds his easy-breezy charm — but, crucially, not his slightly hapless natural likeability — and bubbles up volcanically, his eyes frequently doing the talking.”

Varun is undoubtedly a talented actor, acclaimed by the critics and accepted by the masses, as most of his releases have been big hits, be it ABCD 2, Dhishoom or the very recent Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya. Even in the movieDilwale in which he co-starred with stalwarts like Shahrukh Khan and Kajol, Varun made his presence felt rather than being intimidated by the superstars.

With awards such as Star Guild, IIFA, Star Screen Awards, the journey has just begun for Varun. As he turns 29 this year, we, in Different Truths, wish him more success and new milestones in his career.

Moushumi Chatterjee, her Innocence and Talent are her Strengths

She defied the myth that marriage ends the career of a Bollywood heroine. Her career started after her marriage. Indira (Indu is her pet name), known as Moushumi Chatterjee to us, was born on 26th April 1948, in Kolkata. Hers was the most innocent face in the cine industry.

She acted in the Bengali movie Balika Badhu, when she was just fifteen-year-old. The film made her very popular, making public outings difficult for her. Hence she came to Mumbai with Hemant Kumar, a famous singer and music director, to celebrate Durga Puja.  Her stay with the Kumars gave rise to rumours that she might be getting married to Hemant Kumar’s son. On seeing how perturbed Moushumi’s family was by these gossips, Hemant Kumar asked for Moushumi’s hand for his son and she shifted to Mumbai with her doll house, dog, and, a best friend who stayed with her for a year.

Hemant Kumar was a renowned film celebrity and many film personalities used to visit his home, Shakti Samanta was one among them. He coaxed Moushumi to act in films, who after initial hesitation, accepted his offer, when, encouraged both, by her husband and father-in-law. She was very apprehensive of her debut role as she had to play a blind girl, but Shaktida assured her that he will train her by taking her to a blind school. However, that never happened as Moushumi performed skillfully in the mahurat shot of the film. The film was Anuraag, it was very successful at the box office and Moushumi was nominated for Filmfare’s Best Supporting Actress Award.

Anuraag was released in 1972, and in 1973 Moushumi acted in many films such as Naina, Kucche Dhage, Us Paar, with actors like Shashi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Vinod Mehra, and Amitabh Bachchan. But it was not until the end of 1974, that the most successful movie of her career happened. It was Manoj Kumar’s Roti Kapda Aur Makaan. She played a rape survivor and her rape sequence is considered to be one of the most disturbing rape scenes.

Moushumi starred opposite almost all the leading actors of her time and got along with all of them but her favourite co-star was Sanjeev Kapoor. In spite of being married, with two daughters, Moushumi was linked with many actors but she dismissed these rumours, stating that she shares long, steady friendships with many of her co-stars.

Though she has been awarded the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award, in 2015, she is still active, making a smooth transition from lead roles to supporting roles, since 1985. She is a strong woman, who has lived life on her terms and indeed was a liberated independent woman in an age when feminism and women liberation were still a distant cry. As she turns 69, on 26th of April, we, in Different Truths, laud her courage and achievements.

©Smriti Maheshwari

Photos from the internet.

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Smriti Maheshwari loves cooking, reading, mostly fiction and thrillers. She enjoys mythological stories too. She also loves meeting people and making friends, socialising, and is a big movie buff. A homemaker and a dreamer, she stays in Allahabad with her husband.