Pankaj Tripathi, who will be seen in Munna Michael and Gurgaon soon, says that he cannot compromise on the script when it comes to small-budgeted and independent films
Pankaj Tripathi has established himself well in Bollywood with all the characters he has played so far. He will next be seen in Shabbir Khan’s Munna Michael, which releases on July 21. The film stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tiger Shroff and Nidhhi Agerwal. Pankaj says that he plays Nawazuddin’s brother in the film. “It’s a negative character but it’s got an interesting look with a different make-over. This is the first time that people will not be able to recognise me,” says Pankaj, known for films like Fukrey, Masaan, Dilwale, and Anaarkali of Aarah among others.
He adds that he has a few action scenes with Tiger. “They are high voltage action scenes and for the first time I have done something like this,” he adds.
But it’s his forthcoming noir thriller Gurgaon that’s making a lot of noise. The film which marks the directorial debut of National Award-winning cinematographer Shanker Raman, stars Ragini Khanna, Akshay Oberoi, and Shalini Vatsa. “It’s a very different and small film. I enjoy working in small films. I play one of the pivotal roles and my character goes from 30 to 55 years. I am a farmer from Gurugram which has eventually become Gurgaon,” says Pankaj, adding that the content of the film is very strong and meaningful. “Therefore it’s quite satisfying as an actor to be a part of the film.”
“The story is inspired by two or three events. He is a simple farmer and goes on to become a builder. It’s about how Gurugram becomes Gurgoan and what happens to his family. It’s a kind of film that will leave you speechless for a while after watching it,” he says.
Do actors have to balance between independent and commercial films? He says, “There’s no denying that the reach of commercial cinema is huge as a lot of people watch such films. But as an actor, the balance is very important. When you are a part of independent and small-budgeted films, people remember you and the shelf life is more. More people have appreciated my work in Nil Battey Sannata, Masaan etc.”
So how does he choose his projects? “When it comes to independent films, the script is the most important factor and it has to be good which is independent of other factors. Apart from that, a lot of other factors are involved. But in case of commercial films, it’s the makers and actors,” says Pankaj. He adds, “Sometimes while working on an independent project, we do not get a vanity van and have to shoot at a tight budget and schedule, so I can’t compromise on the script. The reason for doing the project is the strong story.”
The actor further believes that the script is the real hook while making a film. “If you write an interesting script, you can easily get the attention of the audience. In the last 15 years, the team of writers has changed. We have several writers from small cities and those who have watched world cinema. Also, we need to give more attention to our scripts because Hollywood films are giving us tough competition, both technically and at the box-office. Some of them are doing more business at the box-office than our own films,” he adds.
Pankaj who will be seen in another indie film called Newton, starring Rajkummar Rao. The film has already won several awards at International Film Festivals. The actor plays the role of a CRPF commando on election duty in a Naxal-hit area and says that it’s another film that he is looking forward to.