Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s masterpiece 12th Fail depicts an ordinary man’s extraordinary journey to achieve his dreams of becoming an honest and hardworking law enforcement officer. The lead protagonist of the film, Manoj Kunar Sharma (portrayed by Vikrant Massey), is a character inspired by the real-life IPS officer, Manoj Kumar Sharma, who remained inexhaustible in his hard work to make his dream come true. Manoj Sharma, just as depicted in the film, was from a very underprivileged family in a village in Madhya Pradesh, but from a very young age, he was committed to bringing about a change in his family’s financial and social status, but not by cheating. Let’s take a deep dive into Manoj Sharma’s character arc to learn about his journey from darkness to light.
Manoj Sharma grew up witnessing poverty, deprivation, and humiliation. Seeing the corruption of government employees and teachers, Manoj never thought that cheating could be a bad thing until an honest police officer, Dushyant, came to their school and arrested the head teacher for letting the students cheat in the exam. Due to the ban on cheating, Manoj failed the 12th standard, but inspired by Dushyant’s words, he chose not to cheat for his next attempt. Manoj might be poor, but from a young age, he realized that honesty is a great virtue that may not give away easy success, but it earns people respect and honor. Inspired by Dushyant, Manoj aimed to become a DSP like him, but obstacles kept coming in his way. However, desperate to make a living and come back home in a police uniform, he agreed to go to great lengths. Manoj came to Delhi with a complete stranger and began to take coaching and prepare for the UPSC exam. People around him mistook Manoj for one of the herd of hopeless people who had come to waste their four years on this exam, but Manoj held high hopes. Hustling as a library sweeper, toilet cleaner, and many other things, Manoj paid his bills for the books and also sent money back home. Several heartbreaks came along his way—a momentary separation from the love of his life, Shraddha, his grandmother’s death, and repeated failures in three consecutive UPSC attempts. But Manoj didn’t give up his hope, because deep down in his heart, he knew that he had the true potential to become a law enforcement officer and bring positive change to his community. Finally, Manoj triumphed in his last attempt at UPSC and became victorious in his battle against life. Overcoming all the struggles, criticism, and humiliation, Manoj won in every aspect of his life. The determined and indomitable Manoj is an inspiration to all the common and working-class people who have great aspirations in their lives. Manoj’s journey encourages them to dream and do everything they can to make that dream come true.
Is The Journey Of Real Life Manoj Sharma Different?
Portrayed by Vikrant Massey, Manoj Sharma is a cinematic depiction of a real-life figure of the same name. However, despite the fact that the entire film is based on real-life events unfolding in Manoj Sharma’s life, some creative liberties have been taken by the makers. There are some subtle differences between the fictional and real Manoj Sharmas. While the real Manoj Kumar Sharma, the IPS officer, was from a village named Morey in Madhya Pradesh, the reel-life Manoj was from a small village in Chambal. Moreover, some dramatic effects have been added to the storyline to make it look more engaging, but we don’t have explicit knowledge if Manoj had really faced all of those troubles in reality. Just as depicted in the film, Manoj Sharma had really failed the twelfth standard in every subject except Hindi. He also received third division in the ninth and tenth grades, which suggests a lack of motivation in his life in these early years. But realizing the responsibilities that he was supposed to take on, Manoj decided to make a change and struggle to improve his studies.
After coming to Delhi, just as shown in the film, Manoj Kumar had many side hustles to make money in reality. Starting from driving an auto and walking dogs to sleeping with the beggars in the street, Manoj had done everything and suffered a pretty rough life. However, working in the library changed his life forever. After coming across several books written by Maxim Gorky, Indian essayist Gajanan Mafhav Muktibodh, and famous personalities like Abraham Lincoln, Manoj became inspired and got addicted to gaining knowledge. Working at the library gave him the privilege of staying with the books, which became his companion on this journey. However, Manoj had met the love of his life, Shraddha, during the time of his preparation for UPSC and initially became her genuine friend rather than trying to be her lover. Manoj’s innocent smile and simplicity impressed Shraddha, who also decided to spend the rest of her life with him. As promised to Shraddha, Manoj decided to turn their worlds around by finally clearing UPSC Mains and achieving an All India rank of 121. After giving his interview and getting selected for the job, Manoj Sharma became an IPS officer. He eventually married his lady love, Shraddha Joshi, and to date, they are together, living a blissful married life.
Where Is IPS Manoj Now?
After becoming an IPS officer and years of playing his role as an honest and hardworking officer, Manoj Sharma is now posted as an assistant commissioner in the Mumbai Police. Manoj Sharma has fulfilled his promises that he once made to his mother. He came back to his village donning a uniform, which gave him an honorable life that he had always deserved. We don’t know if anyone named Dushyant ever existed in Manoj Kumar’s life in reality, but the film has drawn a beautiful conclusion to the story as well as the connection between Manoj and his inspiration, Dushyant, that will leave you with teary eyes. Amazing performance by Vikrant Massey and his co-actors; the simplicity as well as the emotional and human aspects of the story set 12th Fail apart from any other Bollywood film.