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Pankaj Tripathi loves playing the common man

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Actor Pankaj Tripathi on reprising the function of lawyer Madhav Mishra in the second season of ‘Criminal Justice’

Pankaj Tripathi is an actor who’s steadily incomes followers. Whether it’s the function of a butcher (Gangs of Waseypur), a supportive father (Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl), a gangster (Mirzapur) or a lawyer desirous to win his first massive case (Criminal Justice), Pankaj Tripathi says that he acts to satisfy the expectations of his followers.

Pankaj shall be reprising a task as Madhav Mishra in the second season on Disney Hotstar’s Criminal Justice which can go on air on December 24. The actor says, “Portrayal of common man roles like Madhav Mishra or the father in Gunjan Saxena, the ticket collector in Masaan or the principal in Nil Batein Sannata are very close to my heart, I relate to them. These are ordinary people who live in the society with their head held high. Their righteousness and simplicity of life inspire me to be a good human being and also inspire others through my work.”

Pankaj Tripathi loves playing the common man

Saying so, he factors out that fame, luxurious and wealth will not be what bought him into appearing. While he’s conscious of his rising fandom, he says he likes to remind himself to remain grounded and can all the time contemplate appearing as his rozi roti (survival). “Acting pays my bills and takes care of me and my family. Acting used to be my hobby and even though my parents wanted me to take up a government job or become a doctor or teacher, I decided to turn my hobby into a profession.”

While he didn’t have a particular objective in life, Pankaj aspired to be a ‘bada admi’. “I didn’t know what, but I wanted to be someone big when I grow up,” he provides.

He says, “It is ironical that I started acting for my survival and several years later, in 2020, I still look at it as my rozi roti. I have no complaints and still weigh quality over quantity when it comes to work. Which is why I have no regrets over projects I have missed. I always tell myself, ‘something else will come.’”

Born in Belsand village near the Indo-Nepal border, Pankaj grew up watching Ramanand’s Sagar’s Ramayan. Recollecting their television-viewing days, he says Doordarshan used to get rerouted from Nepal and he grew so keen on the characters of Ram and Sita, performed by Arun Govil and Deepika Chikhalia, that he secretly desired to satisfy them in the future.

He laughs, “I never aspired to meet any actor expect for Ramji and Sitaji from Ramayan. I haven’t met Arunji yet but by a stroke of luck I met Deepikaji and didn’t realise it was her until I stepped out and asked a production person. So, yes, while she doesn’t know who I am, I met her without recognising who she was.”

What is the actor’s secret to convincingly pull off each character he has performed thus far? “It has to be all the things that were told to us in acting school. Teachers used to say a lot of things and inadvertently it all gets registered. One important lesson was economy of register or to create maximum through minimum. Utilise everything according to the need and demand. When we play a certain character it continues to be a part of our life. So, it is an effort to shake it off. Some characters come off easily, some take longer.”

Does he suppose his story of a small village boy making it into Bollywood can encourage others? “[Actor] Manoj Bajpayee’s success story gave me confidence, so I will feel I have done something good, if I can inspire an actor from a small town or village in India.”

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