8 years ago, when Pyaar Ka Punchnama released, it wasn't just Rajat's (Kartik Aaryan) rant that won over the audience. It was also the 'bromance' that Rajjo and Liquid shared. And in this equation, Divyendu Sharma--who played the role of Liquid aka Nishant--had an equal role to play.
From Punchnama's Liquid aka Nishant to Mirzapur's Munna Bhaiya, Divyendu Sharma has not only continued to experiment with his roles but also justified each choice with brilliant performances. Simply put, he has become more than just the 'Punchnama' boy.
Divyendu, who has been a part of the industry for eight years now, holds a graduate degree in political science, and a diploma degree from FTII, Pune. And though Punchnama made him a household name overnight, his first break was with a small role in the film Aaja Nachle.
In Pyaar Ka Punchnama, he was one of the three lead actors. And, in a cast made of debutants, Divyendu still stood apart. Though most of the film's dialogues reeked of misogyny, his anger (at his job) was just as relatable as the naivety he brought to his character's relationship.
After Pyaar Ka Punchnama, he appeared in the comedy remake, Chashme Baddoor as Omkar "Omi" Sharma. Though the film was an average grosser, Divyendu's performance helped cement his position in the industry. He continued to slowly establish himself, with small but authentic performances in movies like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, and Batti Gul Meter Chalu.
Then, in 2018, he played the role of Munna Bhaiya in the web series Mirzapur. And managed to completely shed his boy-next-door image. As Munna, he evoked anger, fear, and annoyance in the audience.
He wasn't your typical Bollywood villain. As Munna Bhaiya, he had to maintain a precarious balance between arrogance, greed, ambition, and dejection. And he flawlessly managed such a complex character. Even when sharing screen space with an actor like Pankaj Tripathi, Divyendu managed to hold his own - and came across as a character you don't just forget after the end credits roll in.
Even for the audience, after Liquid, it was the character of Munna Bhaiya that became an instant favourite. Something that Divyendu admitted to as well, during an interview with Times Now.
It (Liquid's character) is very dear to people, but now Munna has replaced everything. So people call me Munna rather than liquid. But still, Liquid is one such character that people have kept close to their heart and for me also, it was my first film after all!
He followed this performance with Zee5 Originals, the web series Fatafat and the movie Badnaam Gali. And with his latest film, Hotstar VIP's Kanpuriye, Divyendu has once again managed to delightfully surprise the audience.
As Vijay - an aspiring lawyer stuck between his actions and ambitions - his performance combines certain aspects of his previous characters to come across as a refreshing take on a small-town boy.
Considering that Divyendu is only eight films old in the industry, his film choices and his performances are not only praise-worthy but also an indication of what we can expect from him in the future.
His filmography is proof that he has tried to constantly experiment with roles and not 'exploit' the one genre he is comfortable with:
I am getting to play different characters, different stories. I never wanted to stick to one genre of films, because, after Pyaar Ka Punchnama and Chashme Baddoor, I could really exploit this genre and zone of acting, but since the start, I was very aware of the fact that I have to play different roles and I want to be known for my versatility and people are giving me different characters, so I have nothing to complain.
Here's hoping his performances continue to be just as impressive, and his roles, just as experimental.