In 2017, Pankaj Triapthi had 7 releases (also filmed Ishq Malang which is yet to be released). In 2018, he had 9 releases and 2 web shows Sacred Games and Mirzapur. In 2019, the list boasts of 8 releases, 2 web shows and 2 short films.
The spurt in the projects is quite evident. And this proves just how fascinating his acting portfolio has turned out to be, much like his roles that range from one spectrum to another.
He has bagged roles in crucial films (Newton, Stree), big budget projects (Super 30, Sacred Games) as well as small (Dharm, Mithya), in comedies (Bareilly Ki Barfi, Luka Chupi) , as well as thrillers (Tenth Race, Gurgaon). In Hollywood project (Dhaka) as well as web series (Mirzapur).
So clearly, he is one of the busiest actors in Bollywood who continues to give commanding performances even in projects that unfortunately don’t measure up to his talent. But he is happy to stun the viewers with the ease with which he can easily weave in and out of the wide-ranging characters.
THE ULTIMATE REALIST
Having acted in films and TV for over 15 years now, Pankaj has done diverse roles, understands the pulse of his characters, makes them real to help audience catch up with his brilliance. Even though he started with Run, it took a role in Ganga of Wasseypur to have the audience acknowledge his potential. Newton was an interesting career move too. It had him play a cynical military officer Aatma Singh made to protect the booth against insurgents who would have upset the voting process. He is absolutely delightful in being indifferent to Netwon’s frantic attempts to hold a fair voting. Such was the impact of the manner in which he infused the character with dry, sullen quality that he won a Special Mention at 65th National Film Awards. The incredible actor went on to steal the show with more involved roles such as Rudra Bhaiya in Stree, and as the head of the music troupe Rangeela in Anarkali Of Aarah. Rest of the projects like Gurgaon, Fukrey Returns too had him deliver pitch-perfect performances.
TURNS SMALLER ROLES INTO IMPACTFUL PARTS
If there is anybody who has played a vital role in turning smaller roles into compelling characters, it is Pankaj. So whether it was playing a corrupt minister in Super 30, an underwritten character like Babulal (Luka Chpi) or Suryaprakash in Dharm or a small role in Mithya or in the thriller drama Maazii, he managed to prove his mettle as an actor, and receive critical acclaim. Similarly Masaan had Pankaj deliver another impactful performance even though he was offered just a couple of scenes. So it wouldn’t be wrong to say that these were just the stepping stones to greatness.
STAYS ROOTED DESPITE UNEXPECTED SUCCESS
Yes, that’s an undeniable secret to fame, success and abundance – virtually everything you wish for in life. Pankaj was rejected by NSD twice. But failure didn’t deter him for qualifying in his third attempt. By then he had already acted in 35 plays. Even though he has risen from being almost a nobody and have had the audience believe in his craft, Pankaj believes the secret of his work lies in his potential to stick to his roots even after attaining success. Remember the photos he shared of his new house? The clear appearance of khaat was just a way to let people know how important it is to absorb and stay rooted to your tradition and culture. If you analyse his characters, he often spouts life lessons to his fans.
INTERNALIZES FEAR OF REJECTION
In an interview Pankaj had mentioned that after GOW, he was offered at least “10 Sultan Qureshi-type roles”. But he did not want to repeat himself as he had the fear of being rejected by people. It is this fear which is biologically wired with a desire to belong, to not be isolated or demeaned that makes him bring uniqueness to every character he plays. To do almost everything to break the labels of a conventional hero, and be flooded with scripts that satisfies the politically and socially aware artist that he is.
Pankaj can experiment because he is flexible. Because he seeks out new experiences that uses his skills in multiple ways.
And because he doesn’t mind stepping out of his comfort zone, he will never feel trapped in this industry. He will never feel less passionate about acting. And he will never become the victim of his own success.
Pankaj, your stars are clearly on the rise.