In the heart of Indian cinema, a compelling tale unfolds with “12th Fail” (2023), directed, written, and produced by the maestro Vidhu Vinod Chopra. This Hindi-language biographical drama, based on Anurag Pathak’s non-fiction book, brings to life the remarkable journey of Manoj Kumar Sharma, portrayed by the talented Vikrant Massey.
Released on October 27, 2023, the film explores the real-life story of Sharma, who transcended extreme poverty to achieve the prestigious rank of an Indian Police Service officer. The cast, including Medha Shankar, Anant V Joshi, Anshumaan Pushkar, and Priyanshu Chatterjee, adds depth to this cinematic portrayal.
Set against the backdrop of the Chambal Valley, the plot unfurls as Manoj faces family struggles, corruption, and the challenges of clearing his 12th-grade exams. Falsely arrested and undeterred, he seeks guidance from DSP Dushyant Singh, navigating setbacks and personal losses.
As Manoj’s journey unfolds, love blossoms with Shraddha Joshi, portrayed by Medha Shankar. The film captures the essence of perseverance, friendship, and the indomitable spirit of those aspiring for success in the rigorous UPSC examinations.
Vikrant Massey’s stellar performance, coupled with the authentic portrayal of real-life UPSC aspirants, adds a layer of sincerity to the narrative. The film’s poignant soundtrack by Shantanu Moitra, featuring tracks like “Bolo Na” and “Restart,” complements the emotional depth of the storyline.
Despite facing challenges, “12th Fail” emerged as a sleeper hit, grossing over ₹66 crore worldwide on a ₹20 crore budget. Its critical acclaim resonated with audiences, praising its originality and thought-provoking narrative.
The film, shot across various locations in Agra, Chambal, Delhi, Mussoorie, and Mumbai, captures the essence of Manoj’s struggles and triumphs. Its success prompted a dubbed release in Tamil and Telugu languages, further expanding its impact.
As the credits roll, “12th Fail” stands as a testament to the power of resilience, echoing the sentiments of those navigating the complexities of education and societal expectations. Vidhu Vinod Chopra, known for delivering impactful cinema, once again leaves an indelible mark with this heartfelt portrayal of a man’s journey from adversity to achievement.