Pankaj Tripathi is having a busy year. Not only was he in one of this year's most profitable films – the Amar Kaushik-directed Stree, but he's also starred in Sacred Games, Kaala, Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain and Phamous. The National Award winner spoke to us about why it's important for an actor to always be informed of current events and how he manages to stand out even when the scene is not about him:
1. An actor needs to be well read
Mujhe lagta hai ki abhineta ko desh aur kaal, uska anuman hona chahiye. As an actor, I believe I should be aware of whatever is happening around me on a social, economic and political level. I want to know what's happening around me amongst the middle class, upper class, lower class… Aware rehne se somehow performance ko jyaada contemporary rakh sakte hain. I want that all my characters also be aware, woh bhi jagruk rahe.
2. Acting and cooking are not much different
I find cooking and acting very similar. Matrao ka gyaan hai, kitna dalna hai. Thodi si amount bad gayi toh log overacting bolte hai. Waise hi thoda cooking jyaaza ho gaya toh overcooked bolte hai. Toh haldi aur namak jitna ka amount hai, waisa hi precision se amount acting mein pata hona chahiye.
3. You don't need an entourage
Akele hi aaye the, akele hi jaana hai. Aur iss baat ki anubhuti badi achhi tarah se hai. I try to do all my work myself. Just this morning I cooked lunch for my wife and daughter.
4. If acting is all you know, protect your business
Mujhe jis din pata chalega ki doosre actors katra rahe hai mujhse, main turant average acting karne lagoonga! Dukaan bhi toh chalaani hai na? Apart from acting I don't know anything else. Acting ki dukan bandh ho jaye toh mujhe vaapas gaon jaana padega, kheti karne. My only goal is that while playing my characters, I do justice to whatever my writer or director is trying to tell the audience.
5. Be truthful, and you'll stand out even if the scene is not about you
Mahesh Bhatt called me after watching Newton and said, 'Out of focus mein bhi tu truthful tha.' Toh main ispe nahi jaata hoon, ki focus kispe hai. Wide mein bhi mujhe pata hai ki main bohot door khada hoon, par mein apna kaam imandaari se karta hoon. Agar aap truthful rahoge, toh notice ho jaata hai. Waqt lagta hai, lekin hota hai.
6. Sometimes acting talent is not enough
In the beginning of my career I thought I have the main skill which is acting which I had learnt from a drama school before coming. Yahan aake samajh mein aa gaya ki apart from acting, aapko aur 10 cheezein aani chahiye. Aap bazaar mein khade ho, aur bechna bhi hai khud ko. This I didn't know. I was told in drama school that to be an actor you need talent, motivation, truth and realism. Ab jhola main motivation, truth aur realism – teeno lekar nikle Aaram Nagar mein, koi pooch hi nahi raha hai.