“I did Kaala just to meet Rajinikanth and know how can a person become so popular with acting,” says Pankaj Tripathi about working with the Superstar in Kaala. The National Award-winning actor has a pivotal role in the Rajinikanth starrer.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Pankaj revealed that working with Rajinikanth was no less than a fanboy moment for him. “My only purpose of doing this film was to meet, speak and work closely with Rajinikanth. I didn’t even read the script or hear the story. I just asked how many days of shooting will I have with Rajnikanth. They said 13 out of 15 days and I agreed because I wanted to see what makes him so great, that he has such a big fan following,” said the Newton actor.
“I am playing a cop in this movie and wherever there is a crime, I am found there. But there is nothing different or new in this role. If I had to choose it as an acting job, I wouldn’t have done it. It was only because of Rajinikanth,” he added.
Kaala had its big-ticket release on June 7, and the nation was back to seeing the fan frenzy which a Rajinikanth film invites. From people queuing up outside cinema halls even before dawn to Rajini maniacs dancing during the screening of the film, it was a sight to behold.
Though Pankaj wasn’t surprised at the response Kaala was getting, he revealed how it was being on the same sets with Rajinikanth. “It is such a simple experience working with him. Onscreen, he has a larger than life image and his fans worship him. But, in person, he is a complete opposite. He is like any common man. And he meets and interacts with people with the same simplicity. But there must be some magic that he emits which attracts the audience. When I worked with him, I realised that he wants to make every scene entertaining. He is a magical actor. We had some good interactions. I used to ask a question, become quiet and just listen to him,” he said.
Kaala also stars Nana Patekar. Talking about working with another great actor, he shared, “In our very first meeting, Nana Patekar told me I was a very good actor and that I should stop doing mediocre films. That moved me a lot. And now I have taken his words very seriously. I promised him that I will do good movies in the future.”
Pankaj, however, feels acting in a language which you don’t understand can be challenging. “Of course, I would like to do only those movies where I can understand the language. If you don’t, you can’t really act well. Speaking south Indian languages is very difficult. More than acting, you are focused on ensuring that your lips are moving correctly with the dialogues. Though I have a mix of dialogues, half in Hindi and half in Tamil, but it was very difficult. I managed it somehow,” he told us.
The Bollywood actor, however, feels politics will be a difficult territory for Rajinikanth. “I think politics will be difficult for him because we see politicians changing their stances and sides every day. I don’t know how much he can adapt to politics. But in southern states many chief ministers have been former actors. In north India, actors haven’t enjoyed much success in politics,” Pankaj opined.
Pankaj signed off by sharing that one thing which he learnt from Rajinikanth. “After meeting him, I became confident that my process and my way of performing is correct. I also got to learn that even if life makes you such a great man, how can you remain grounded. That man is a school in himself.”