Whether it is in Gangs of Wasseypur, Sacred Games, Masaan, or Ludo, every character essayed by Pankaj Tripathi leaves a deep impact on the viewers. His on-screen nuances, perfect timing, and the exceptional variety and layers he packs each of his characters with prove his mettle as a true artiste. But, while the actor is content with his journey, he does admit he often misses theatre, as that is where his journey began.
In an exclusive email interaction with indianexpress.com, the seasoned actor talks about his childhood, his professional journey, pandemic experiences, and what keeps him going.
From theatre and films to now OTTs, you’ve come a long way. How would you describe your journey?
It’s been a very fulfilling journey. I am humbled and honoured to have received so much love across countries.
You started your career with theatre — something you’re no longer an active part of. Do you miss being on stage?
The stage (of the theatre) will always be very close to my heart. I do miss it, but I also love the kind of variety I can bring with the work I am doing currently doing.
How would you describe the feeling of acting in front of an audience vis-a-vis a camera (theatre vs films/OTT)? And if you had to pick one over the other, which one would you choose?
Both are not very different for me, actually. Whether I am on stage or in front of the camera, I bring myself into the character and create that state of mind for myself where I am completely focused on playing my part. I will continue to do my job, which is acting and performing irrespective of the platform I am honoured with.
The pandemic, however, has put a stop to it all. How has your pandemic experience been — both personally and professionally?
It has been an eye-opening experience, but also a great professional journey. Some of my latest works – Mirzapur season 2, Ludo, Gunjan Saxena, to name a few — released during the time. OTT was one of the few entertainment platforms available to audiences during the lockdown and this has helped expand my reach to new viewers as well.
On a personal front, there were moments where I felt that I need to take a pause from work and rethink my journey; to assess if maybe I was working a bit too much. I also tried some self-discovery and exploration in the time that I got over the last year.
The pandemic made everyone look inward and take more responsibility for their health. What have you been doing to maintain your health and immunity?
Health needs to be the top priority for all of us today, keeping the pandemic environment in mind. With children becoming pickier about the foods they eat and the fact that they look for taste in every meal, makes it more difficult for mothers to provide them with wholesome goodness that traditional foods like doodh roti, parantha etc. can provide.
For me, a simple, homely, and healthy meal works to keep my health in check, and I ensure that my family and kids also have well-balanced meals, along with taking out enough time to exercise.
You have recently collaborated with the biscuit brand — can you share about your favourite biscuit from your growing up years?
The Britannia Milk Bikis 100% Atta biscuit has been launched as a response to a national survey conducted with mothers in India, to understand the dietary requirements and importance of traditional foods for children today. In my opinion, this has launched at the right time as the significance of children’s diets and the need to give them a wholesome meal has increased significantly due to the pandemic. As a child, I remember how much I loved eating doodh and roti and the kids today are very lucky as they can get ‘doodh roti ki shakti‘ with this new biscuit.
The brand is very close to my heart; I have a strong association with it since my childhood. Growing up, my family used to reside in a village in north Bihar and my uncle used to visit us once a month. The best part, for us kids, was the fact he would never forget to carry a packet of the biscuit for my sister and me. It was such a treat for us in those days. My uncle would cycle his way from the nearby village and bring us the biscuits and we would enjoy them over days. Hence when this campaign came up, I was extremely excited to be a part of it.
How does the year 2021 look for you?
I wish 2021 goes really well for the world and hope that we all come out of this pandemic in good health. I also hope all the beautiful stories that have been written and have not yet got a chance to reach our beloved audiences release soon.
Sometime back, you posted on Instagram, ‘Learning never ends’ — is this what keeps you going?
Yes, for sure. I live to learn each day.
You also finally joined social media — are you enjoying the platform?
At the onset of last year, I had taken to social media to share some past life experiences with my audiences. The aim was to just share my experiences and thoughts and motivate people as we were all going through a rough phase in life.