June 23, 2022 4:09:51 pm
Pankaj Tripathi’s latest offering Sherdil: The Pilibhit Saga is all set to hit theatres on June 24. The film is inspired by a strange tradition that took place near the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, in which villagers would abandon their elderly relatives so that tigers might feed on them and the family would be compensated by the authorities.
In the movie, Pankaj plays a sarpanch who volunteers to go to the tiger reserve to be eaten by a tiger, so that the families of his village benefit from the government money, which is promised to the family of any tiger attack victim.
In this interview with indianexpress.com, Pankaj Tripathi opens up about Sherdil and his almost two-decade-long journey in the Hindi film industry.
Pankaj believes he is where he is today because he never gave up. The actor said, “It has been quite an interesting journey. I remember clearly how I did a few roles initially where I was the face but the voice was not mine. In some films, my part was edited out and yet it didn’t make a difference to the story. Then I was a small part of large films. My journey is proof that if you work hard and consistently keep working on your craft, your journey will bear fruits. Sherdil is that fruit for me. It tells an important story about man and his relationship with nature, and the best part of it all is that it is a satirical film. Srijit Mukherji has told this story in a very humorous way.”
Pankaj Tripathi is an oddity in the Hindi film industry that thrives on vanity and glamour. He has stayed away from the limelight. But does that affect his standing in the industry? The actor said, “I don’t know how the industry sees me. But I have understood that the industry is filled with vanity, where people make noise about their work and there is a lot of chamak-dhamak. People really pay a price to maintain their vanity. How much ever synthetic food you eat, but in the end you want to have organic fruits and vegetables without fertiliser don’t you? It is good for health. And, I think my existence is rooted and organic. In the industry that is so much into vanity, I have received a lot of love from my colleagues and even more from the audience, and that’s a relief for me. I want to continue working with full imandaari. I know that the day I carry that pride or vanity, I’ll become nakli. I can be anything when it comes to playing characters in films, but when it comes to what and who I am, I cannot be anyone else. I have to be me at any given point.”
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Pankaj has a good mix of commercial and critically acclaimed movies to his credit. When asked if it was a part of his plan to show that he is a versatile actor, he said, “No. I never planned that. It was an organic flow. I am doing a Sherdil then a short film Laali and then a commercial film like Fukrey 3, which is a total mass entertainer. These films were not planned. They have organically come to me.”
The back-to-back films and shows have made Pankaj Tripathi one of the most sought after stars in Bollywood today. But the actor feels he has reached a “saturation point”.
“I know that I am almost at the saturation point. I plan to work a little less in the coming days. I’ll choose my work wisely. I’ll do selective work. I have never planned. I have lived in the present, but yes, I am getting a feeling that I should do less work. I will try that for a year or so. If it doesn’t work, then I’ll be back to doing what I do now,” the actor said.
Going forward, Pankaj Tripathi wants to be a part of projects that give him satisfaction as an actor.
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“There was a point when I didn’t get the kind of work I wanted. Then several roles came my way, so I got excited. I started feeling good that I am shooting 25 days a month. That was a big excitement for me. What I am shooting was not part of the excitement. It was only about getting work, being on set and being in front of the camera. So, the only excitement I had was that I have work. Now, I am feeling the need to do things that satisfies the artiste in me. That’s what I am pursuing now,” the actor concluded.
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