I was watching ‘Mirzapur’ when I first noticed his genius. The mafia don ‘Akhandanand Tripathi’ who ruled a lawless land in this gangster drama had me besotted. Pankaj Tripathi was perfectly sinister.
What had me swooning over the man’s acting persona was the fact that Akhandanand Tripathi was not your typical local crime lord. This one had character. He was cruel but casually calm. He did his work sensibly. He said little, but with raving depth. Even his presence in a scene had performance. Pankaj Tripathi’s meticulousness was hard to miss; even when one heard him with closed eyes, Pankaj Tripathi’s distinctiveness could be felt.
His customary perfection reappears as he plays Guruji in Sacred Games. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world slept, I lay wide awake, consuming Pankaj Tripathi’s charisma. Guruji preached to his followers, even those who sat at home watching, snatching away all the limelight in the all-powerful web series.
Sure, realism appears over and over on the sets but Pankaj Tripathi never sways. The actor impacts as he gets under the skin of the characters he plays.
While the actor’s breakthrough came after 8 years of fleeting appearances, in 2012 with a supporting role in the Gangs Of Wasseypur, the film Newton was a game-changer. Not only did it rake in moolahs at the box office, but was critically acclaimed. Pankaj Tripathi’s superlative performance won him a special mention at the National Awards in 2018.
It’s been an eventful journey for the actor, he left his village of Belsand in Bihar’s Gopalganj district to study medicine in Patna. He then moved to Delhi and enrolled in the National School of Drama.
He started his journey in 2004. It was after getting his degree from the National School of Drama, that he came to Mumbai with his wife, to audition for small roles. Getting work was not easy, says Pankaj Tripathi, the actor Bollywood now unflinchingly banks on – His list of upcoming releases are proof!
Be it playing the cynical paramilitary officer in Newton, the affable Pandit in Fukrey, the hilarious Rudra Bhaiya in Stree, or an estate agent in Barielly Ki Barfi, Pankaj Tripathi is your actor for all seasons!