In An Industry Full Of Starkids & Washboard Abs, Pankaj Tripathi Is A Ray Of Hope For Cinema Lovers
There’s almost nothing that Pankaj Tripathi can’t do (except maybe give up on acting for a washboard abs) and we love him for his fantastic performances.
There’s a certain buzzword doing the rounds in Bollywood since the past months.
Nepotism (noun) ˈnɛpətɪz(ə)m
Meaning: the practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.
Most people on the internet take no time to jump the gun and blame everything wrong with Bollywood on the lack of opportunities. Millions flock to Mumbai every year to turn them dream of making it to the silver screen into a reality.
Most of them don’t succeed, some do but only a handful manage to tear through the mist of star-power and establish themselves as great actors. Pankaj Tripathi is one of them.
Bollywood now functions on two things – celebrity PR and amazing marketing for movies. Almost every big-budget movie manages to grab a ton of eyeballs. The other lesser known movies which are made well, make their way to the audiences through articles and news blogs. That’s the only way a fantastic movie like Newton manages to do relatively well on the box-office.
But seasoned theatre actors often miss the mark when it comes to PR. They aren’t very well versed with marketing their personalities. They don’t get Page 3 cover stories but instead, carve a niche for themselves in the audiences’ hearts with stunning performances.
Personally, Pankaj Tripathi struck a chord with me when I first watched Gangs of Wasseypur. He looked like an ordinary guy who wasn’t in the industry for the limelight, he was here to give his best in front of the camera. And he did. Sultan Qureshi is one of the most memorable characters in recent history.
Recently, we’ve seen directors and producers come up with taglines that encourage audiences to leave their brains at home and not look for logic in the movie.
This is an increasingly worrying trend which can only be limited if actors like Pankaj keep up with what they’re good at.
Seldom do we come across actors who add a layer of political resonance with their on-screen avatars.
Pankaj does it really well as his characters speak a lot more through their actions and mannerisms than their actual dialogues.
One of the biggest examples of this is the character of Aatma Singh from Newton. He is dutifully working hard but his pessimistic approach to things somehow speak truth to power.
Slowly, we are seeing more and more people flocking to cinemas for great content.
While mainstream cinema is still riddled with movies that are basically rehashing all the generic tropes from different genres, small budget movies are making the most out of the plethora of talent at display.
Pankaj Tripathi has emerged as a big market player in this section. He isn’t an extravagant star who’ll ultimately overshoot the budget of an indie movie; but his sheer presence adds a bit of street-cred which can attract a small but significant section of movie-goers.
A lot of actors in the past have fit this role, but none of them have been as successful as Pankaj Tripathi or a Rajkumar Rao. While Rao is often in the leading role, it’s a minor miracle that a supporting actor holds so much power over the Indian audiences.
Recently, Pankaj Tripathi was awarded the best actor award for his movie Mango Dreams at the Cape Town International film festival.
But will he win something remotely similar in India? That’s a far-fetched idea to begin with. This is exactly why it becomes important for Indians to occasionally celebrate the brilliance of this man.
The onus is on us to make up for the lack of attention by the big guns of the industry and do everything in our capabilities to appreciate Pankaj.
Pankaj has found the sweet spot where commercially viable and great cinema amalgamate to entertain thousands of Indians. We hope we’ll see him deliver stunning performances for years to come!
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