Excerpts from an interview with Indian actor and Gangs of Wasseypur and Newton star Pankaj Tripathi.
1. Tell us about your journey.
“It has been 20 years since I started acting. There were times I have done one scene, or a half scene or spoken just two lines. In fact there might even be films where I had no lines at all.”
“But I had a wish, a yearning. Acting was a hobby and an honest passion that I wanted to pursue.”
2. How does one keep going?
“A seed buried in the ground is not covered to die. It will spring to life in a few days. So, be patient. Your struggles and the suffocation that you feel is not suffocation at all.”
“In fact, you are being given an environment to spring to life and grow into a tree. If you don’t enjoy what you do, leave it. Do what you truly enjoy so you can do it well.”
3. What is the secret of success
“Keep an open mind. We all believe that we are the most knowledgeable person around. But when you are ready to listen to other ideologies and points of view you can gain a lot.”
“Whether you become an artist or even just a person a lot of people have contributed to that. We cannot create art by detaching ourselves from everything.”
4. According to you, what is the true craft of acting about?
“An actor is not born. Acting is a learned art. Experiences in life, reading new books, meeting new people and exploring different landscapes are the key to becoming an actor.”
“I give a human touch to every character. Even in my villainous negative roles, you’ll find some humanity.”
5. What are your thoughts on contemporary cinema
“Nowadays even mainstream cinema is inquiring about actors like me. Now everyone wants to invest in the script.”
“Initially not much money was invested in scripts. Now, new stories are coming up and there is certainly change. Ten years ago Newton or Nil Battey Sannata would not have been possible and no one would have watched it either. Stereotypes are getting shattered everywhere.”
6. What's next for you?
“At the end of the day, we have one life to live. Live the moment. Oftentimes, we are stuck in the past and future and the present is destroyed this way. Leave it. Live for today.”