Pankaj Tripathi’s work is considered both study material for actors and fodder for internet memes. In a year that saw a no-show from major Bollywood stars and witnessed the rise of new talent, Tripathi consistently delivered superior performances – from Gunjan Saxena, Mirzapur season two to the much recent Ludo.
Such is the impact of his work on the masses that the day he unveiled the trailer of Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors, Tripathi’s character from the show – Madhav Mishra – was trending on Twitter. “No one cares about this. People forget these trends as the day gets over. So, I don’t take it seriously,” he tells indianexpress.com .
Pankaj Tripathi finds comfort in detachment. For an actor, whose magnificent rise to stardom happened in recent years, Tripathi understands anonymity better than anyone else.
“I know all this is a myth. People didn’t know me till a few years ago and they won’t know me after a couple of years. So, in this current phase of being famous, I already know how it feels to be not known,” he says. This is also why the actor believes his simplicity will never be burdened by his rising stardom.
On being asked if he fears getting corrupted by the shine of showbiz, the actor says, “It won’t ever get corrupted. My software is very strong and I carry my anti-virus with me. (Laughs) I see birds flying back to their nests every evening from outside my window. So, I know everyone has to return to home every night, regardless of one’s fame or stardom. I am a grounded person, connected to nature. I travel to villages and small towns. So, no it won’t get corrupted because when your roots are firmly in the ground, the tree will survive both the good and the bad times.”
It’s the innate ordinariness that drew Pankaj Tripathi to lawyer Madhav Mishra in Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors, currently streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar. The actor takes forward the much-loved character from the first season that premiered in 2019.
“Madhav Mishra quite strongly resides in me. I like how powerless he is. Like, no one gives him importance. I find that beautiful. I like his ordinariness. And towards the end of the first season, he becomes extraordinary. And that’s how life is. We are all ordinary people living in the pursuit of something extraordinary,” the actor says.
Pankaj Tripathi’s ability to make his characters relatable is one of his biggest strengths as an actor, one that often positions his performance bigger than the film or show he is a part of. The actor, however, doesn’t want to dwell on it as he believes great characters come only from good stories.
He says, “Neither have I made these characters bigger nor can I make them smaller. So, why to bother about something that’s beyond your control? I just sincerely do my work on set and then it’s out of my hands. But I do feel that it’s not the character but the story that’s big. And it should be like that. In a good story, perhaps people connect more with some characters.”
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