I would never be able to live up to the image of a star: Pankaj Tripathi

New Delhi: Pankaj Tripathi is humble enough to accept his star status but the acclaimed actor says he doubts if he will ever become the quintessential Hindi film superstar.

The 44-year-old actor has had one of the most successful years in 2020 as his sensitive act in “Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl” was well-received, followed by a return as fan-favourite Kaleen Bhaiya in “Mirzapur” season two. He also stood out as Sattu Bhaiya in Anurag Basu’s anthology “Ludo”.

With his next “Shakeela”, a biographical feature on titular adult actor who was one of the biggest stars of the 1990s from Kerala, Tripathi steps into the shoes of a fictional superstar named Salim.

MS Education Academy

“Indrajit Lankesh (director) narrated me the script and I liked it very much. It was the role of superstar Salim and I knew that I would never get to witness what superstardom is like, so I thought why not witness it all through this character.

“It was a great opportunity for me, the character is quite flamboyant and wears colourful clothes. He is unpredictable or gives the performance of unpredictability. It was a very fun and interesting part,” the actor told PTI in an interview.

Though it took off late, Tripathi’s career is filled with critically-acclaimed movies and shows of recent times such as “Gangs of Wasseypur”, “Gurgaon”, “Mirzapur”, “Sacred Games”, “Masaan”, “Newton”, “Nil Battey Sannata” and “Bareilly Ki Barfi”.

But the actor said the number of hits he has given won’t change the person he is in real life.

“We all have a particular image and perception about a traditional superstar and how lives his life and what all he does. But I know that even if I get superstardom, I would never be able to live up to that image.

“I’m simpleton and even if I try, I won’t be able to do this. I can’t act in real life. I believe that I can only witness that superstardom in reel life, not real life.”

No matter how many grey or dark characters he has played in his films or shows, Tripathi, who hails from Belsand village in Gopalganj district of Bihar, is hailed by his colleagues and fans for his soft-spoken and humble nature.

Asked to decode his humble personality, he said, “It is very difficult for me to explain this… A person doesn’t know about all the things that he carries with himself. I don’t know where I got this humility. If I had known, I would have worked on it. I would have amped it up further or even toned it down.”

“Many times, people ask me ‘Don’t you get irritated if your co-star is a newcomer or is a weak actor?’ I tell them that the person is a living being, a human first for me. There is nothing bigger than love for me in this world,” he added.

Besides his performances in films, Tripathi has always been favourite for people who come up with funny memes on social media.

While his neck became a subject of many memes post the premiere of “Mirzapur” season two, the actor’s funny one-liners from “Criminal Justice” season two have also grabbed memers’ attention.

“In the times of COVID-19, people are already tense as they are locked in their homes and there are still restrictions on freedom, travel and behavior as we can’t hug each other still.

“When we deliver these dialogues, then we have no idea that they can be turned into memes going forward. There are a lot of creative people in the world.”

“Shakeela”, featuring Richa Chadha in the lead, is set to be released theatrically on December 25.

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