12th Fail Review: Vikrant Massey delivers an exceptional performance

12th fail movie

In Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s latest film centered around UPSC aspirants, Vikrant Massey showcases his career-best acting. Titled “12th Fail,” the movie adeptly weaves the narrative based on Anurag Pathak’s novel, following the journey of Manoj Kumar Sharma from Chambal, a 12th dropout determined to crack the challenging UPSC exam.

Chopra, a master storyteller, skillfully employs the underdog theme, infusing the film with a range of emotions—pain, anger, failure, victory, helplessness, and confidence. Vikrant Massey’s portrayal of Manoj is raw and authentic, depicting his struggles, from low-paying jobs at a tea stall to cleaning toilets, without sugarcoating the harsh realities. The film resonates with the experiences of countless UPSC aspirants who persevere year after year.

“12th Fail” also addresses the flaws in the education system, highlighting a school in Chambal that openly promotes cheating as a means to secure jobs. The film introduces DSP Dushyant Singh (Priyanshu Chatterjee), whose impactful intervention changes Manoj’s life trajectory. The narrative exposes the loopholes in the system and delves into the restart mentality for UPSC aspirants.

Clocking in at 147 minutes, “12th Fail” maintains a gripping pace, never veering into monotony or preachiness. Chopra skillfully incorporates diverse subplots, each contributing to the overall narrative without feeling forced. The film follows Manoj’s journey in UPSC coaching in Gwalior and his subsequent move to Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar, known for hosting aspirants from across the country.

Vikrant Massey steals the show with a brilliant performance, embodying Manoj’s character with authenticity and depth. Whether as a naive teenager or a determined UPSC aspirant, Massey brings nuance to every aspect of the character. The film seamlessly explores Manoj’s relationships, including his girlfriend Shraddha Joshi (Medha Shankar), adding layers to the narrative.

Chopra’s direction keeps the dialogue simple yet impactful, effectively conveying the vulnerabilities of students facing failure and resilience. While touching on corruption in the system briefly, the film never loses its core essence—a genuine and honest portrayal of determination and conviction.

“12th Fail” is a compelling watch that not only provides insights into the challenges faced by UPSC students but also sheds light on the broader issues within our education system. In this regard, Chopra once again captures hearts as he did with “3 Idiots.”