The National Award-winning actor Pankaj Tripathi, in a conversation with IANS on the occasion of his birthday, reviews his journey and three projects from his career so far that are very close to his heart.
Born and raised in the village of Belsand in Bihar’s Gopalganj district, Pankaj shared how no one in his family and neighborhood imagined that he would become famous as an actor or even travel to any international destination beyond Nepal.
Pankaj Tripathi told IANS: “I remember it was my sister’s wedding when an astrologer told me in front of everyone, how all the family members got together during the wedding, that I will travel the world and be in a profession that It will allow you to earn money and respect. My family members thought it would be great, as we come from a humble background. “
“They thought that maybe I would get a job and go to Nepal because it is an international destination and many people from our village have gone to Nepal as workers. They thought that if I became a chef, I would work in a hotel, the big hotel would pay me a good amount and that will do everything, financial security and a stable and happy family life ”.
He continued: “(Laughter) No one, and honestly speaking, including me, ever imagined that they would get so much love and appreciation from audiences and critics alike. Now I know those memories sound like folklore, but I still consider myself a very lucky person because many talented people take 10 years to meet the right person at the right time. It has happened to me too ”.
Starting his career in 2004, Pankaj went through tough times and made television shows, before making his breakthrough in film.
When asked to choose his three favorite works so far, Pankaj shared the best memories behind them that made these projects so special.
It was a television series broadcast by Sony Entertainment Television in 2010. The series was a police thriller and Pankaj played the character of Naved Ansari, a drug lord from Mumbai. He said: “In those days, a show that reveals the dark side of the world of business, drugs, etc. It was not done on our television or movies as it is today. My character Naved was highly appreciated by critics and members of our fraternity. Other actors noticed me and started to know that I exist because I was struggling to get acting jobs. “
However, when he looks back, Pankaj feels that he could do the role of Naved better now.
“I come from a theatrical experience, so I didn’t have a lot of experience with the camera and how we create a cinematic moment through acting. Of course, acting is acting, but few things need to be adjusted according to the medium. That time, it was quite crude, now I can play the same character in a different way because I have experience in the cinema, “he said.
Directed by Shanker Raman, the film revolves around the story of Kehri Singh, a business magnate. Recalling that phase in his life, Pankaj Tripathi said: “Back then, in 2017, my career was going through a lot of uncertainty. Interestingly, my character Kehri also has a bow from zero to a wealthy businessman, who turned abusive, alcoholic, etc. Our director Shankar, sir, was a wise man who told me, “Pankaj, the script is your map, now you build the character.” That made me dedicate my mind to the entire brewing process. But it was difficult for me because the character gets old in the movie and I didn’t have that much experience in life. “
Then he gave himself another challenge.
“I thought, how about using the minimalist use of craftsmanship, be it the delivery of dialogue, body language and any other tool of an actor that we use in the theater and turn it into a very internal performance? I think it worked in the character’s favor, ”shared Pankaj.
Released in 2017, the film was directed by Amit Masurkar with the participation of Rajkummar Rao, Anjali Patil and Raghubir Yadav. The film was an Indian entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards.
Speaking of the film, Pankaj said: “When the offer for the film came to me, I was working for a television series. It was a pretty monotonous life where I packed my lunch, went to the set of the TV show, filmed all day, ate my food, came home exhausted, and went to sleep. I was feeling emotionally depressed. So when ‘Newton’ came to me, although I liked the character of Atman Singh, I was mainly excited because, for 40 days, the movie will be shot outdoors, under the open sky! The whole feeling of breathing fresh air instead of filming indoors was so refreshing. “
Eventually, Pankaj Tripathi, along with director Amit and screenwriter, changed the character of Atman Singh from a cynical government official to a little more personable to watch and more humane.
“Of course I didn’t know back then that my lines would turn into memes like ‘Main Likh Ke Deta Hoon… Koi Nahi Aayega’ (laughs), but the idea was to make the character more human. Atman Singh is a government official doing his duty in a conflict zone, so it is natural for me to feel some bitterness in him. But he also has a family and children. So I changed and treated the character with a little more compassion, ”shared Pankaj.
The actor will appear in the upcoming films ’83’ and ‘Bachchan Pandey’.
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