[VoxSpace Selects] How Is Pankaj Tripathi Different From His Fellow Artists

The Talented Pool Of Actors

Indian cinema right now is going through a transition. We are seeing people who are extremely talented, doing well in their respective fields of work. One of the biggest changes that can be seen is the pool of talented actors coming in and delivering. Actors like Rajkummar Rao, Ayushmann Khurrana and Vicky Kaushal are some of the examples, who have shown their mettle with some extraordinary performances recently. Not to forget, along with this list, actors like Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt have proved the amount of variation and capability they have.

But there is another lot, which is not your ideal hero material but has been impressing consistently with their craft. Actors like Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Irrfan Khan, and Manoj Bajpayee have shown time and again that one doesn’t need good looks and six packs (not undermining the former actors’ appearances though) to be the protagonist of a movie. They have delivered some mind-blowing performances over the years.

The latest entrant (compared to others) in this lot, gaining popularity and marking his name is Pankaj Tripathi.  He is literally everywhere, Movies, Web Series, Ads, Youtube and maybe even on Mars. But why is he popular and all over the place (in a good way)? Let’s try to understand.

Pankaj Tripathi – The Initial Journey

Pankaj Tripathi made his acting debut with a minor role in ‘Run’ in 2004.  Although he acted in some more movies like Apaharan (2005), Omkara(2006), Raavan(2010), Agneepath(2012), etc, he couldn’t taste any success. But his breakthrough came in 2012 with the hit movie series Gangs of Wasseypur. Playing the supporting character of Sultan Qureshi, Tripathi impressed everyone with his authentic and natural portrayal of the character.

From there on, he has received a critical appraisal for multiple films, including Fukrey (2013), Masaan (2015), Bareilly Ki Barfi (2017), Newton (2017), Fukrey Returns (2017) and Stree (2018). For Newton, Tripathi earned several awards including a National Film Award.

 Pankaj Tripathi – The Non-Stereotypical Hero

By appearing back to back and impressing in many movies, Pankaj Tripathi has announced to the world that he is here for the bigger game. People have started admiring him and his acting skills and he has become popular enough to make an impact every time he appears on the screen.

Like I mentioned earlier, by the appearance he doesn’t look like a typical commercial hero type of guy. But he doesn’t even rely on that. He has the conviction of adapting and molding himself into any character thrown at him. And he does it with so much ease that you never realize the smooth variation he brings in playing different characters.

Take Mirzapur for example. Pankaj Tripathi plays the role of Kaleen bhaiya who is the protagonist, who is not a stereotypical hero. He brings so much depth to the character that we start feeling scared of Kaleen bhaiya and are invested in the character throughout the series.

What Exactly Works?

Things like his dialogue delivery, his comic timing and natural portrayal of the character are something we all know. But there is so much beyond that. The biggest advantage Pankaj Tripathi has is that he is a secured person when it comes to his craft. Although he had to struggle a lot and for a long period of time, he has now made his mark. This gives him that extra confidence and security to perform better every single time.

Also, not only he has spent good enough time to learn the craft academically (theatre), he has also honed his skills by acute observation and noticing the tiniest of the details of people around. This helps him add the nuances to the character he is portraying making the character unique.  For example, his character of Sultan Qureshi in Gangs of Wasseypur looked so real and authentic that one would feel like they know Sultan personally. The quirks he brings to the character makes it lively.

Add to that, the sheer amount of hard work he puts in along with the sincerity he has, makes him deliver every time. Pankaj Tripathi has this honest approach towards the character and that reflects in all his performances. That’s his USP and he smartly plays around it. That helps him in bringing out different variations in the characters he plays.

What Doesn’t Work?

One thing which limits Pankaj Tripathi is that he is this person who fits perfectly when there is a rural representation. But somewhere it feels inorganic when you see him doing an urban role. I am not undermining his acting skills or commenting on his looks. This is something that comes from where you have come from as in how you have grown over the years.

As I mentioned earlier, he is someone who is a keen observer and tries constantly to embed those nuances in his character. But in his journey towards this stardom, he has seldom seen and understood how different people behave in urban areas. Again I cannot comment on his journey over the years, this is something I believe based on his performances and his different interviews.

Having said that, I am sure he can essay any role given to him as he puts a lot of effort in understanding the character and doing proper research for it. And he’ll just get better and better with experience on his side. Wishing to see more of his amazing work in the future.