Spotlight interview: Pankaj Tripathi tells us about the film '83 and more
If there is anyone in Bollywood who doesn’t need to modulate his voice to sound different, it’s Pankaj Tripathi. But this down-to-earth actor with a charming smile and cool demeanour, who has us captivated with his portrayal of the deadly Guruji in Sacred Games 2, doesn’t take fame too seriously. The former student of NSD, who hails from Belsand, a remote village in Bihar’s Gopalgunj district, shot to fame with his riveting reprisal of Sultan Qureshi in Gangs of Wasseypur in 2012.
Since then, he has been appreciated in movies like Newton, Bareilly ki Barfi and more recently, Stree. He has also kept audiences enthralled with his acts in web series like Mirzapur and Criminal Justice. “Initially, I used to search for work but now work searches for me,” says Tripathi, who has been working for 12 hours non-stop over the past two months despite nursing a rib fracture. Notwithstanding a busy schedule, Tripthati had a hearty chat with Indulge and put forth his views on acting and more. Excerpts:
Let’s cut to the chase. Do you feel expletives used in web series can affect the viewers, especially the young ones negatively?
I don’t think viewers will be inspired by violence since no series glorifies a crime. But having said that, I am always careful that my gestures do not impact viewers negatively. So, I have decided not to mouth expletives, unless absolutely justified for the scene.
You will also be seen in the much-talked-about movie '83...
I am playing the role of the World Cup-winning team manager Man Singh. But I have never watched cricket before and have no interest in the game. I still don’t know the players in the current team except for MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli. But for the movie, I had to understand the game. I also met Man Singh at his residence in Hyderabad and I was amazed to see the 2,000 sq ft cricket museum he has built on the third floor of his house. It has some 10-15,000 cricket memorabilia.
So, are you a fan of any other sport?
I am a big football fan and love sprinting. I am a big fan of athlete Hima Das and Dutee Chand and hope to meet them at some point in my life.
What are the other films that you are working on apart from '83?
I am playing a father in Kargil Girl, a biopic on combat pilot Gunjan Saxena, then there’s Anubhav Sinha’s Abi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai, Anurag Basu’s untitled film, where I have an interesting character with shades of grey apart from a few others, which will be soon announced.
You have also worked in Abhiroop Basu’s short film, Laali…
Just as there are films for which we get paid handsomely but derive no satisfaction from, there are such films too which gives us immense pleasure to be a part of despite getting low remuneration. Laali is one such wonderful movie that let me explore myself as an actor.
Do you plan the future?
No, I live on impulse. But I have a dream that when I turn 50 to 60-years-old I will buy a plot in the wilderness and build a mud house and space for organic theatre practitioners. I will also do more theatre after my prior commitments are over by August next year.
As a politically conscious person, what’s your take on the current global scenario?
I think all of us are politically aware. Globally, it’s a weird time we are living in with people more active on social media than in real life. I really don’t understand all the brouhaha and though I have Facebook and Twitter profiles I am not very active there. People say things indiscriminately without realising how it might hurt the person reading them.
Is there a movie that you really want to do?
I would love to play the character of Hiraman in Teesri Kasam (1966) based on a short story Mare Gaye Gulfam written by Phanishwar Nath Renu.