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12th Fail is a 2023 Indian Hindi-language biographical drama film directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra that clashed with Kangana Ranaut’s Tejas. Based on the real-life story of Manoj Kumar Sharma, the film depicts his inspirational journey of overcoming extreme poverty to become an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer after failing his 12th board exams. With powerful performances by Vikrant Massey, Medha Shankar, and Anant V Joshi, 12th Fail is an engaging and emotional watch.

Plot of 12th Fail

The film follows the protagonist, Manoj Kumar Sharma (Vikrant Massey), born in the dacoit-infested Chambal to an upright clerk father

and a grandmother who was the wife of a subedar martyred in action. Due to his father’s unflinching honesty, he is suspended from his job for hitting a corrupt officer.

Manoj’s struggle begins

Manoj’s struggle begins when he prepares cheat slips for his 12th board exams, only to have the newly transferred DSP Dushyant Singh (Priyanshu Chatterjee) crackdown on cheating at his school. As a result, Manoj and all his classmates fail the crucial exam that was supposed to set them on their future paths. This failure sets off a complex chain of events in Manoj’s life. With no exam qualifications, Manoj is forced to leave school and take up odd jobs to support his Family. The situation worsens when his brother is falsely imprisoned, leaving more of the family’s burdens on Manoj’s young shoulders.

12th fail movie review
12th fail movie review

Feeling hopeless, Manoj blames DSP Dushyant for ruining his life by stopping the cheating on his exam. However, when Dushyant advises Manoj that instead of cheating,

he should work hard and pass the exams honestly, something clicks for him. Inspired, he decides to apply Dushyant’s advice to his own life. Manoj re-takes the 12th board exams fairly the next year and passes. He then pursues a BA degree, working hard through challenging circumstances to become a moral and upright DSP one day. This moment marks the

beginning of Manoj’s struggle, which will test his dedication to hard work and honesty many times before he achieves his ultimate dream.

The road to becoming an IPS officer

The road to becoming an IPS officer is filled with challenges for Manoj. His aspirations are first crushed when he discovers the MPPSC exams, his chosen path to public service,

are abruptly canceled for three consecutive years. Lost but not defeated, Manoj travels to Delhi upon learning about the prestigious UPSC exam from his friend

Pritam Pandey (Anant V Joshi). Though the odds are stacked against candidates from modest means like himself, Manoj gives it his best shot.

12th fail movie budget
12th fail movie budget

In Delhi, teachers like Gauri Bhaiya (Anshumaan Pushkar), who runs UPSC coaching centers, provide guidance and study materials to help disadvantaged

aspirants like Manoj. Through their assistance and his dogged determination, Manoj attempted the UPSC prelims and mains exams multiple times despite

repeated failure year after year. He also finds love and support along this difficult road from Shraddha Joshi (Medha Shankar),

a bright and romantic UPSC aspirant aiming for the allied IFS.

After six long years of perseverance against all odds, Manoj finally achieves his dream and cracks the prestigious UPSC exam to become an IPS officer. Though the road was long, his determination and the assistance of mentors made Manoj believe that anyone with ability and drive has the potential to succeed, no matter their background.

The cast of 12th Fail

As one of the most anticipated biopics of recent times, 12th Fail features a talented ensemble cast ideally suited for their roles.

Vikrant Massey as Manoj Kumar Sharma and Medha Shankar as Shraddha Joshi

Vikrant Massey is leading the film with a powerful, nuanced performance in the central role of protagonist Manoj Kumar Sharma. From a carefree teenager to a determined IPS

aspirant facing immense hardships, Vikrant portrays the varied shades of Manoj’s journey with pure sincerity. His ability to evoke empathy makes Manoj’s story all the more impactful.

12th fail movie collection
12th fail movie collection

Medha Shankar performs impressively as Shraddha Joshi, Manoj’s love interest and fellow UPSC aspirant. As the resilient, compassionate Shraddha, Medha provides the much-needed emotional anchor to Manoj’s struggling character. Their tender romance offers the audience moments of warmth amidst the harsh realities of Manoj’s world.

Supporting Cast

The supporting cast of Mukkabaaz lends critical support in elevating the extraordinary story of protagonist Manoj Kumar Sharma. Talented actors like Anant V Joshi as

Manoj’s steadfast friend Pritam Pandey, Anshumaan Pushkar as idealistic UPSC coach Gauri Bhaiya, and Priyanshu Chatterjee as the upright DSP Dushyant Singh put in earnest, naturalistic performances that allow the film to maintain an authentic, slice-of-life sensibility despite the high-drama narrative.

These and other supporting characters represent the few well-meaning, supportive people Manoj finds along his difficult journey who provide him assistance

or guidance when he needs it most. Whether motivating Manoj to keep trying despite UPSC failures, training him in boxing skills to stand up to bullies,

or providing critical financial assistance for his studies, these characters play small but essential roles in enabling the protagonist to achieve his larger goal ultimately.

12th fail movie near me
12th fail movie near me

The film derives much of its heart, and hopeful tone from these supporting roles essayed with subtle charisma by the actors. They embark on fully-realized characters with empathy rather than relying on cinematic tropes like the “wise mentor” or “plucky sidekick.” The result is a world around the protagonist that feels organic and fleshed out,

populated by realistic people doing their modest best to help a hero out of sympathy for his underdog struggle. This lends the film dramatic heft and allows Manoj’s journey to feel genuinely earned against considerable systemic odds.

12th Fail is a relevant watch in contemporary times by spotlighting the urgent need for reforms in India’s education system and bureaucracy. The incredible real-life story of Manoj Kumar Sharma underscores the power of honesty, perseverance, and self-belief in carving one’s destiny despite all odds stacked against them. Buoyed by Vikrant Massey’s moving performance and Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s deft direction, the film inspires hope over despair without losing touch with reality. For those seeking an entertaining yet thought-provoking cinematic experience, 12th Fail comes highly recommended.

Movie Info:

Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Available in
27 October 2023
Quality option
1080p | 720p | 480p
Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Main Stars
Palak Lalwani, Sanjay Bishnoi, Harish Sharma, Sukumar Tudu, Suraj Naagar

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