Published On January 25, 2024
Published By Chief Editor

From Struggles to Stardom: The Inspiring Saga of Manoj Kumar Sharma

Do you know the real story behind ’12th Fail’ IPS officer Manoj Kumar

The heartwarming movie ’12th Fail’ by Vidhu Vinod Chopra featuring Vikrant Massey and Medha Shankar gains popularity. The film tells the real-life story of IPS Manoj Kumar Sharma, as documented in Anurag Pathak’s bestselling book.


Hailing from the dacoit-filled Chambal, Manoj Kumar Sharma, born to a clerk dad, faced a tough start. His father, an upright man, got in trouble for standing up to a corrupt officer. When Manoj and his buddies resorted to cheating slips for their 12th-grade exams, a new cop in town, DSP Dushyant Singh, put an end to the shenanigans. This move led to everyone, including Manoj, flunking the test. Meanwhile, his dad challenged his suspension in the High Court.

To make ends meet, Manoj and his brother took up a gig running a rickshaw. Trouble hit when his brother got falsely accused of bopping a local henchman. Manoj, with DSP Dushyant’s help, bailed his brother out, and that’s when the cop suggested Manoj quit cheating if he wanted to follow in his footsteps.

Fast forward a year, Manoj buckled down, passed his exams honestly, and set his sights on a B.A. to become a DSP. But life threw curveballs. His grandma’s savings vanished, and the government axed Group I exams, crushing his DSP dreams. Homeless and hungry, a local hotel owner near the railway station gave him a hand. That’s where he met Pritam Pandey, a fellow PSC exam hopeful. Pritam’s dad urged them to tackle UPSC in Delhi. So off they went, joined by Gauri bhaiya, an aspirant who opened doors for Manoj. Though Gauri bhaiya couldn’t make the cut, he founded a coaching institute. And so, the journey from Chambal’s shadows to Delhi’s ambitions began.

Real Life Unfolds from here onwards

In the picturesque village of Bilgaon, nestled in the heart of Morena district, Madhya Pradesh, began the extraordinary journey of Manoj Kumar Sharma in 1977. His father toiled in the Department of Agriculture, and financial woes cast a shadow on his early academic endeavours. In Class IX and X, he earned only a third division, and Class XII saw a complete stumble, save for a glimmer in Hindi.

Yet, fate smiled when love entered his life in the form of Shraddha Joshi. Despite academic setbacks, he took the plunge, vowing to reshape his destiny. Sharma fell in love with Shraddha Joshi, and it was his love for her that became a driving force for positive change in his life.

Motivated by love and a burning desire to prove his mettle, Sharma dove into the daunting world of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams. To fund his dreams, he took up odd jobs — from steering a tempo to strolling posh neighbourhoods as a dog walker in Delhi. There were nights spent under the open sky.

His unyielding spirit saw him working as a peon in a library, seizing the chance to hone his UPSC preparation. Three failures in the Civil Services Exam didn’t deter him; on his fourth attempt, he clinched an All India Rank of 121, realizing his dream of becoming an IPS officer.

Today, Manoj Kumar Sharma stands tall as the Additional Commissioner in the Mumbai Police, earning monikers like “Singham” and “Simba” for his authoritative style. His love story with Shraddha, now an IRS officer, currently involved in the Tourist Department of Maharashtra infuses a touch of Bollywood romance into his extraordinary journey.

In an interview, Sharma underscored Joshi’s pivotal role, declaring that without her, his life wouldn’t be what it is. Their love story, a tale of triumph over adversities, mirrors the essence of true love.

Their romance unfolds like a Bollywood script. Sharma believes in the power of love, and upon meeting Joshi, sensed something extraordinary. Their courtship involved humorous tea-making lessons for Sharma, catering to Joshi’s hillside fondness. Their wedding, a fusion of Sharma’s experiences and Joshi’s hillside upbringing saw shotgun salutes unfamiliar to her.

In conclusion, Manoj Kumar Sharma’s odyssey from a 12th-grade setback to an IPS officer radiates the victory of determination, love, and unwavering perseverance. His life, immortalized in the film “12th Fail,” stands as a beacon of inspiration, reminding us that no dream is too colossal, and no setback is insurmountable with the right spirit and dedication.

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