‘12th Fail’ weaves a story that blends a love story with themes of success, hard work, determination, and overcoming adversity. The protagonist, Manoj Kumar Sharma, hailing from modest financial means and lacking academic brilliance, faces the setback of failing his 12th standard exam. However, guided by a local public service officer, he learns the invaluable lesson that honesty is the path to progress. Motivated by this insight, Manoj diligently applies himself, ultimately succeeding in clearing the public service exam and achieving his dream of becoming an officer in the Indian Police Service.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s directorial venture explores the multifaceted life of Manoj Kumar Sharma, portraying him not only as a dedicated public servant but also as a man deeply in love with Shraddha Joshi. Manoj’s ardent desire to be worthy of marrying Shraddha adds a layer of tenderness to the film, setting it apart. Vikrant Massey as Manoj and Medha Shankar as Shraddha bring a touch of vulnerability and authenticity to the narrative, leaving audiences curious about the real-life inspiration behind this captivating tale.
The Real-Life Story of IPS Officer Manoj Kumar Sharma
‘12th Fail’ draws its inspiration from the genuine life journey of Manoj Kumar Sharma, a man who surmounted academic, financial, and societal obstacles to attain the esteemed position of an IPS Officer. Married to an IRS Officer, Shraddha Joshi, the couple’s story unfolds on the screen, echoing their real-life achievements. The film is an adaptation of the book of the same name, penned by Anurag Pathak. Crafted into a screenplay by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Jaskunwar Kohli, the movie recounts Manoj’s beginnings and the resilience it took to construct the life he now leads.
Manoj’s family, belonging to Morena, experienced financial constraints, a common scenario in many households in this region, and Manoj himself was never an exemplary student. He struggled with his grades in the 9th and 10th standards and his 12th exams, he failed in all the subjects barring Hindi. Manoj suffered a setback in his self-worth as he had started liking a girl named Shraddha Joshi and felt that he could not profess his feelings to her as he had not done well in his exams and did not have good prospects for his future. Determined to change what seemed to be laid out for him, Manoj reattempted the exams and cleared it the next year.
Manoj successfully earned his bachelor’s degree in Arts from Maharani Laxmibai Government College of Excellence in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. Driven by a resolute ambition to circumvent the challenging landscape of the UPSC examinations, he aspired to forge a secure, esteemed, and reliable career path. Following the completion of his undergraduate studies, Manoj relocated to New Delhi, specifically settling in Mukherjee Nagar, a prominent hub for UPSC aspirants. It was during this phase that Manoj serendipitously crossed paths with Shraddha once again. She was also preparing for the examinations in New Delhi and her teacher had asked her to get in touch with Manoj for the Hindi literature paper. Seizing the opportunity, he decided to articulate his feelings to her. Despite her initial refusal, Manoj remained undeterred, steadfastly committed to the pursuit of winning her affection.
During his exam preparation, Shraddha emerged as a supportive figure for Manoj. She actively collaborated with him to enhance his writing skills, providing empty registers for him to practice on. Recognizing the significance of proficient and swift writing in clearing the exam, she assumed the role of a strict yet beneficial teacher. In an interview, Manoj said, “My friends were also scared of her. They knew at what time she would come, so they used to leave before that. I had to give her a full report card about what I did in the entire day.”
Simultaneously, Manoj endeared himself to Shraddha by learning the art of making good tea for her and regularly bringing food from his home to share with her. He added, “I used to make two rotis for her and pack them with achaar and her favorite ‘makka’ namkeen (snacks made from corn). My first concern was Shraddha should believe that I am a good man.” Both of them helped each other in their ways for an exam which marked the most challenging phases of each of their lives and in this companionship, they found partners for life.
Manoj faced the rigorous UPSC exam thrice before finally succeeding, a timeline that underscores its intense competition. In 2005, he achieved a commendable All-India Rank of 121, leading to his induction into the Indian Police Service, serving in the Maharashtra cadre. That same year, he tied the knot with Shraddha. Not long after, in 2007, Shraddha too triumphed in the UPSC exams, joining the esteemed Indian Revenue Service. The couple is blessed with two children: a son named Manas and a daughter named Chia. They’ve established a harmonious and thriving household in Mumbai. Presently, Manoj holds the esteemed position of Additional Commissioner of Police within the Mumbai Police Force, while Shraddha assumes the role of Managing Director at the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation.
In conclusion, ‘12th Fail’ not only entertains but also inspires, celebrating the triumph of honesty and perseverance in the face of adversity. An exam that captures the imagination of so many Indians is the instrument through which Manoj and Shraddha find each other and find their lives it is an exhilarating ride for the viewers and their movie-like life story has succeeded as a film of its own and is a testament to the purity of their journey as well.
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