In days to come, I will work less and take fewer films: Pankaj Tripathi

In days to come, I will work less and take fewer films: Pankaj Tripathi

In a candid chat with The Free Press Journal, the actor spoke about his humble background, how he strikes work-life balance, his association with a farming app, upcoming projects and more...

NiveditaUpdated: Sunday, March 20, 2022, 04:08 PM IST
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From Gangs of Wasseypur to Mirzapur, from Run and Omkara to Ludo to the recent-release Mimi, Pankaj Tripathi’s trip from theatre to the big screen is astounding and emotional. He has come to be the go-to actor for numerous directors who are writing scripts specifically for him. Like several names from small towns and non-film backgrounds aspiring to be a part of the film industry, he had his share of struggles in the early part of his career but he faced it all with fortitude and restraint. 

 When the world was at a deadlock in 2020, Tripathi entertained the audience with Mirzapur 2, Ludo, Birth, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, and Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors. 

A still from 'Mirzapur'

A still from 'Mirzapur' |

For him, the year 2021 began on a good note with the release of Satish Kaushik- directed Kaagaz, in which the actor played the lead. Also, his presence in films like Ranveer Singh-starrer '83, Bachchhan Paandey, OMG 2 starring Akshay Kumar, and Yashraj Films’ Bunty Aur Babli 2 among others, prove how much he is loved for his acting prowess. Currently, Tripathi is shooting for a web series that's yet to be announced along with a few other projects. In a candid conversation, Tripathi talks about his humble background, living in fast-paced Mumbai, and striking work-life balance. Excerpts:

You recently spoke about your association with a farming app. What impressed you about it?

This is an app to help farmers grow their businesses. Being raised in an agriculturally-rich household, I know the kinds of problems Indian farmers face at the ground level. This app, made by the students of IIT, educates the farmers and ensures that their other concerns are being addressed and looked into. I liked their thought process and with my contribution, I intend to support it in my own small way.

Coming from Bihar, how difficult was it for you to adapt to Mumbai’s lifestyle?

Mumbai is a fast-paced city, but I truly like the speed and the vibe and have no complaints. Since I come from a part that is close to nature, I found that place in Mumbai, which is surrounded by nature. I have adapted to the city beautifully and don’t miss the village vibe too.

Any advice for youngsters who aspire to come to Mumbai and make a career?

It’s important to do a self-assessment before coming to Mumbai. Prepare yourself thoroughly before you take this big leap. Mumbai is a wonderful and generous city that is welcoming towards hardworking and sincere individuals. So, if you are talented then you should not worry as you will get your due. The one who is true to their work always gets their due in this city and people admire the ones who are hard working. An actor or anyone from any field, this city opens its arms for every talent that is vying to get noticed.

A still from 'Criminal Justice'

A still from 'Criminal Justice' |

What does a day in the life of Pankaj Tripathi, not as an actor, look like?

I have a hectic day currently as it starts at 7 am and goes on till 10 pm. I am so engrossed in acting full day that I stay away from the phone and miss many calls that also involve work talks. So, when I get free days, I just disconnect from my phone and find peace and that’s how I get back my energy and enthusiasm. In days to come, I will work less and take fewer films. Right now I am working for almost 10-12 hours, seven days a week but after finishing my previous commitments, I want to slow down and I will for sure.

Do you think your theatre exposure gave you an edge over other actors?

Yes, the theatre has its own exposure and, to a great extent, my knowledge for craft and acting came from theatre. I am still in the process of learning and exploring as I feel there is no age limit to garner knowledge. I always stay in that mode. There are many things that I still don’t know and I want to grasp. I love this part of my life as learning is a continuous process and the day you feel that you have learned everything is the day you have to struggle to find motivation.

Did language ever create an obstacle for you?

No, not at all. I am a student of Hindi medium and I think that’s my advantage and my plus point. I don’t think I ever had to face any kind of roadblocks because of my language.

A still from '83'

A still from '83' |

Is your humble background the reason behind your humility?

Yes, of course. I saw the very basics of life and I am glad that I am what I am today because of that. If you know from where you come from, you are ready to face any problems or complications in life with a smile on your face.

How do you keep your sanity intact in these trying times?

I engross myself in reading and writing. I always try to keep my inner consciousness alive. I forgive people easily and I am always in that mood where I don’t have a grudge, jealousy, or negativity for anything or anyone. I always say sorry if I am at fault and I don’t react when someone else commits any mistake.

How do you detach yourself from a specific role?

As there is a process to get into a specific character, there is also a process to detach yourself from it. Every actor has a different approach to come out from certain roles and for me, it is food, traveling, etc. I find peace in things that make me happy and I get busy in that. Also, when I get into the preparedness of a new character, the older one fades away slowly.

What about your upcoming projects?

Bachchhan Paandey, in which I am playing an extended cameo, just released. Then there’s Srijit Mukherji’s Sher Dil in which I will be seen in a leading role. The shooting of Criminal Justice 3 is underway. You will also see me in Raj and DK’s untitled project for an OTT giant and Fukrey 3.

Rapid Fire:

Favourite food: Dal Bhat (Daal rice)

Favourite movie: Maqbool and Pan Singh Tomar

An actor you want to work with: Manoj Bajpayee

Five favourite picks from your playlist: Bulleh Shah and other Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Sahab songs, Phoolon Mein Rang Bhare by Mehdi Hassan, and in Bhojpuri, songs of Bharat Sharma Vyas.

Difficult role tile date: Yet to come

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