Life has been kind to Pankaj Tripathi lately. The 42-year-old actor has come to his own with diverse films and scintillating performances.
He is nominated in the Best Supporting Actor (Male) category at News 18 Reel Movie Awards for his role in last year’s Stree. It was of a self-obsessed village librarian, Rudra.
Tripathi explains the character, “My reference point was a person from my village called Pandit Raghunath Tiwari, and he used to introduce himself with so many titles. So, I decided to use a similar introduction like a person who claims to know everything. Then the director told me about the traits that Rudra is the only one in the village who runs a library. To add a dash of humour, we made him a bit scared too. For him, it was easier to give advice than actually following them (laughs).”
“Amar (Kaushik, director) is an old friend and he gave me the liberty to interpret it the way I want,” adds Tripathi.
One of the most familiar faces of recent times in Bollywood, he has been experimenting with his characters. In recently released Luka Chuppi, he wore clothes that were in direct contrast with his popular image of a serious actor.
He says, “I was there when the director was giving instruction to the costume department. He asked such clothes for Babulal that could stand out even in a crowd. That brief gave me my character arc. Then he says that I am a choreographer. He doesn’t dance anywhere but his body language has certain signs. See, I am always open to ideas and approach any script with innovation in mind.”
He goes on, “I do exactly what the director wants, but these days, my directors want me to do what I want. They give me free hand. Then it’s also about creating a synergy because they’re looking at the whole film while I am looking at my role. It’s like the relationship between lovers. Nobody should take leverage of the freedom and the trust shouldn’t be broken.”
Has the pressure of being different all the time increased? “Now, I have started feeling it. Some friends say that don’t do smaller roles but to me, it’s like conveying something unique in limited screen time. For example, the line in Stree where I say she is not a man who’ll abduct you by force (Stree hai purush nahi jo zabardasti karegi).”
He further says, “There should be an undertone. Only entertainment is not my duty as an actor. A doctor can save a dying person, but a performer can save a dying society.”
He also reacted to being nominated in the News 18 Reel Movie Awards 2019. “I got only two awards last year—The National Award and the Reel Award. At least, there was a platform which appreciated my talent (laughs),” says Tripathi.
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