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GB Hi, I am Pankaj Tripathi and you are watching me on ScoopWhoop

2019-03-29

The viewer knows where he is watching me. The audience is not so stupid to not know what he was watching. He would be like, 'Oh! I was watching ScoopWhoop Thanks for letting me know'. The female assistant director would open the door and start calling people out. 'Not fit. Not fit. Not fit.' I would return home everyday feeling 'Not fit'. Later, I started fearing that my wife would one day open the door and deem me 'Not fit'. I never really thought at any point that now I would start getting more work. I always used to wonder when I would get to see the camera next after a shoot would get over. Whether it's a goon's role or the owner of a sweet shop, Narottam Mishra's part. I can scare you and make you laugh without opening my eyes too wide. But does my son like to smoke it in a pipe or a cigarette -Pipe. He likes to smoke it in a pipe Have you become a Chilamchi Every now and then people message me on social media asking me to always be the humble person that I am. Do they think I'll become arrogant Mr. Pankaj, thank you so much for coming to ScoopWhoop Townhall. We remember starting this show about 8-9 months ago and I think this is the seventh or eighth episode that we have shot. But during our initial meetings for the show, the first name for the guest that had come to our minds was yours. So, finally the show has come full circle. When you telecast this episode, you can make it the first one. The earlier ones have already been telecasted though. So you can make it point five. How about we make this season two episode one. Sure, sure. We are very thankful that you are here. Everyone here is a super fan of you. I think people noticed your great work for the first time in Gangs of Wasseypur and after that each of your role has been extraordinary. We are very lucky to have you here. Can we give him a massive round of applause Thank you, thank you. You all burned a few calories for me. But there's just one complaint that it's really hard to get a hold of you. I understand that with other actors we have to go through their PR teams and publicists and we usually have their numbers but it's so difficult to get hold of you. Why is that I am mostly buried in my work. I have been working 350 days a year for the past two years. Secondly, I am a very laid back person. I also really wanted to be on your show, but I honestly couldn't take time off work. I have promised a lot of people I'd see them when I come to Delhi, but I am always caught up with something that it becomes impossible. Also, all these chats and interviews, I feel if I'm more focussed on my work then these would hold more meaning. People would like to listen to me if they respect and like my work. So my primary focus is always my work and I usually say that I would be remembered for the good work I do in this life. All these interviews can make me popular, I will definitely be able to reach out to more people. Especially these days, I have been talking so much wherever I go that I have started to feel like I'm going to run short of things to say. Like I don't know what we are going to talk about today. But do you enjoy having conversations with people Of course! I am a chatterbox. I can go on for hours. Just yesterday, I was a part of a storytelling session that was about an hour and fifteen minutes long and I ended up telling stories for two and a half hours. The people also kept listening diligently. I looked at my watch and realised it was quarter to eleven. I was like, 'Aren't you all hungry Go eat and leave!' I think your voice has a unique melody and there's only a few actors who when swear on screen, you feel like they should keep going. I think you are one of those actors. I was recently watching Mirzapur and every second dialogue had a swear word, but it was fun to hear all of that. It felt like the more they would abuse, more entertaining it would be. I sometimes wonder about where swear words might have first originated. They are just emotions. We express our anger through them and sometimes use them to express love as well. And I don't swear in my films very often. I only do it if I feel it's really necessary. My aim is not to create a buzz by using abusive language. Of course I am an actor and I have my moments. If the viewers find it amusing, you feel like swearing a few more times to entertain them. But I precisely choose when I want to swear and use coarse language as an actor and even in life. Let's go back a little. I googled your hometown and it said you are from Gopalganj in Bihar. Is it a district or a town It's a district. I am also from Bihar, from the Madhubani district. I tried to find out the distance between Gopalganj and Tamuria and I think it's around three to four hours. Electricity has recently reached the area and the power supply is not more than two to three hours. There are no roads, no clean water but it was still fun being there. I've only seen it through the "vacation" prism though. But you have lived there, you belong to a farming background. Please take us through your growing up years. What was your childhood like in Gopalganj It was absolutely amazing. There's a small village called Bilsad that's about twenty six kilometers from Gopalganj town. The roads are just being constructed there, the village is slowly getting developed. I grew up there and I have always been very close to the nature as there was no electricity or television. I was very ignorant about the outside world until class 10. I had never seen a movie theatre from inside or a television set. I had not even seen a sleeper coach on a train until class 10! But I had no complaints from life, that we are backward or we are not living a fulfilled life. I had no needs or desires. We were very content people. There was a river behind my house where we used to go swimming and that's where I learned how to to swim. When we were kids, there used to be this unique insect in the river. It swims very fast on the surface of the water. It was called "Pandubi" or something in the village. There were rumours that one could learn how to swim quickly if they drank one or two of those with the river water. It was a black coloured worm-like insect that would speed across the water. So when I was a beginner swimmer, the older village kids would ask me to drink a few before going for a swim. They were probably just taking my case but I was quite convinced and ended up drinking that river water with the insects a few times. But little did I know that when I would finally know how to swim, I'd have to part ways with the river. So, these are my childhood tales. What did your father want What were his expectations from you He wanted me to be a doctor. I even appeared for the entrance exams twice and was unsuccessful every time. Got frustrated with low marks. So that didn't work out. It's good that it didn't happen. But 'tor' remained, instead of doc'tor' it became ac'tor'. So when you told your father that you wanted to become an actor, how did he react He didn't oppose at all. He just asked will you be able to earn a living out of it. I said there's a Drama school in Delhi, I'll study there, become a teacher and get a government job. Then he was satisfied. You know for a middle class family living in a village, getting a government job is like conquering the world. Your life is going to be so easy. You just have to attend office from 9am-5pm, and even if there's financial crisis, the government will always give you salary. So then it seems your life is set. Then the parents start looking for a prospect for marriage. In UP, Bihar people set rates for grooms and brides, like "He's an Upper Division Clerk, for him it'll be 25 lakh." If he works with the Railways, all the more higher. Yeah it is much higher. If it's a position where you can take bribes, you'll get a lot more with your salary. And when he retires he'll have a lot of power. There's something we all want to know from you, it's about your love life. We've heard unlike other actors you came here with your wife. Tell us more about it, how did you both meet, was it an arranged marriage or love marriage. It was a love marriage. I had decided in 10th class that I don't want to live a routine life. First I don't want dowry, want to have a love marriage. Then it was like my father is a pandit and a farmer, I want to be something else. So I met my wife at a tilak ceremony, it was my sister's wedding. Saw her on the terrace and I was like who's she And then she came down the stairs, across the courtyard prancing like a gazelle, turned around to look at me and walked away. An arrow went through my heart that moment. I had decided I'd spend the rest of my life with her. Friday night 8.30 I decided I'll be with her forever, whether she's even interested in me or will she even choose me, didn't know. But I was such a dedicated lover that from when it started in 1993, I married her in 2004. She used stay in Kolkata, I was in my village. Her name is Mridula. Did you date each other from 1993 to 2004 We didn't know what a date was. For us dates were August, September, November, Tuesday, Sunday etc. We didn't have a dating culture. I used to go to Kolkata to meet her once every 1.5 years. I had came to Delhi to study in the meantime. Our definition of love wasn't this dating culture, there weren't any mobile phones back then A letter once every 10 days or so. There was a landline phone in NSD's hostel and it was decided that she'd call every day at 8pm. So I used to park myself there with my dinner and wait for her call. So, this is our story. You were at NSD for three years Yes, I came to NSD for my course and got a culture shock. Was wondering where am I. There were students from 20 different states and there was a guy from Korea as well. There were students from Manipur, South India, North India, Gujarat, that's when I felt there's so much diversity in our country. Our nation is not homogeneous. Dialect changes every 500 kms. Our country is so beautiful. I want to just say to people who are watching me right now. See I speak a lot and then digress from the point. No it's okay, this show is all about digressing. Then it's okay. I feel after finishing school every student, either with the help of the government, parents or by himself or herself, should travel the entire country by train. It's so cheap to travel in this country. I have traveled a lot. Everywhere you'll have a Dharamshala or a Gurudwara where you can spend the night. And the experience which you gain by traveling can make change you a lot. I have traveled the entire country. I want to visit the place from where a river originates to where it ends. I've forgot what we were actually talking about. I also forgot, was busy thinking about the beginning and the end of the river. It's good that we are talking about this, but do you think Indian parents control their kids a lot, setting unreasonable expectations Do you think that's changing Yes, that mindset is changing. For example, if Manoj Bajpayee wouldn't have come from Bihar's Betia region to become an actor, I also wouldn't have become one. Manoj used to live in Betia town, studied in a convent school, I was studying in a school in my village. I think my journey can inspire and give courage to thousands of young people in the country that they can pursue whatever they want. Parents should also... Don't you think the reason why the parents also feel like this is because scores of people arrive in Mumbai everyday, you also came here. But only one can become a Pankaj Tripathi or a Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Do you think the film industry as an industry is very discouraging to newcomers Yes and no, both. Yes, because there's a lot of competition there. There's competition in every sector of our country. In a country where getting a confirmed railway ticket is so difficult, becoming an actor, becoming a clerk would also be difficult. For 1000 vacancies, 1 lakh applications, I'm quoting less, 10 lakh applications arrive. It's the same in the film industry. Everyone shouldn't blindly aspire to become actors or cricketers. They should first think about why they want to become an actor. It's people's perception that politics, cricket and Bollywood have a lot of glamour. It's true to some extent, but it also depends on your priorities. For example, my life isn't glamorous at all. I'm so stressed. I don't get time to sleep. It's not necessary that you become an artist in cinema. You can create art while picking up cow dung as well. It's important to understand that you can have an artistic approach in any aspect of your life. Satisfaction is key. Sometimes we as actors get paid a lot for a film, but we don't feel satisfied and sometimes we get paid pea nuts but sleep soundly at night. Why did you want to become an actor and what was your struggle like I wanted to become an actor because I really enjoyed it. I struggled for 10-12 years. What was it like when you first came to Mumbai We were asked to leave from outside the studios by the guards. They would ask us to leave our photos with them. There were no casting directors at that time. So we couldn't get past the guards for 7-8 years. It was Ram Gopal Verma's era. Cinema was changing. It felt like he was doing something different.He used to cast unique faces. 200-250 actors used to stand outside his office, of which I was one. People used to make fake scars on their faces and show up, because Ramu ji liked faces with scars. He like big brown eyes. No problem, you can setup the camera again. Pankaj ji, you were telling us about Ram Gopal Verma. Yes. I've struggled a lot there. I used to go for auditions for advertisements and an AD used to open the door and say 'Not fit', 'Not fit', 'Not fit', 'Not fit'. She used to point at one and call him inside. So I used to go everyday with a bag full of my acting training and come back home disappointed. Sometimes I used to worry that my wife would open the door and say 'Not fit'. Whenever I see a closed door I used to worry about getting rejected. Ramuji never casted you in a film I don't think I've told anyone this before but he almost casted me in a film once. Or should I say I got saved from being cast in the film. There was a film called Contract and there was a character of a don. He really liked me for the part. He used to call me and stare at me. He would stare at me for 4 minutes. And I am sitting like this while he continues to stare. So finally he says ' Ok. Come tomorrow and wear a cap like the one Charles Sobraj wore.' I agreed. I have no money at that time. Nevertheless I went and bought a cap and jacket for Rs. 3600. The next I reached his office. He made me sit right on the edge of a long sofa. It was as if 4 people were already sitting on the sofa and I was the fifth one. He again started staring at me. Then I don't know what happened. He never looked at me again. He must send you scripts now No. We only met once randomly in a stairwell. He asked how I was and left. Never saw him again. Which was the first character you played after which you felt you would receive more work I have never felt this way. Maybe right now. I feel like I don't have to worry about the next one or two years. Before this, after any shoot was over, I was never sure when I would be in front of a camera again. Which was the first character you played after which you felt you would receive more work I think Gangs of Wasseypur. I felt that more people started recognising me after that. Did you have any idea that it would go on be become such an iconic role while you were shooting Not at all. I had no idea what Anurag Kashyap was making. Everyone is firing guns, trying to act cool and swearing. It felt like 'Badle Ki Aag'. I used to ask him after the shot ' Sir, how was it' He said ' Very good. Why do you ask' I said ' Because I have no idea what you are making'. He said just watch the film. So he knew what he was making but I had no idea. I am a Director's actor. Whatever the Director asks from me, I do. I've heard he changes scenes and dialogues on the set itself. Yes. Definitely. He asks the actor to read the script and then forget it. He wants the actor to experiment. Let's take an audience question. Hello sir. What according to you are your best and worst films You can't skip this question. Every actor says all my films are like my children. One best movie and one movie that you consider your worst. Oh, you mean, trash. Hard to say. I can't really say. Best movie. You know, this is a really tricky question for an artist because how can you say which is your best work We feel that our best is yet to come and honestly, it hasn't happened yet. You have to keep going. Everyday, I perform and when Im back home I think that today I screwed up. If I were to perform it the next day, I could do better. So everyday, it seems that what we did today is average work and I must get better. People may like your average work and you too may feel relaxed thinking it was okay, not bad. I could do better, you always know this. People like Wasseypur, I like Newton too, I like the small character I played in Masaan, I liked Gurgaon these are five names already. You did Coffee with D too, right Good thing. I liked it though. The concept of that film wasnt bad. Yeah, the execution was lacking a bit. He is my friend, the director. I heard it, I was on a call, I was shooting Newton. Back there in the jungle, the phone, the internet dont work. There was no way to read a script. I told him Im in the jungle, he said he could narrate it. I heard it and said, its a great idea. He asked me to come to Goa. I took a flight straight to Goa and started shooting. Three-four days into the shoot, I felt... Its always hard to say.. filmmaking is an organic process. These days, we act like critics and pass a verdict in just a sentence on our social media platforms this film is trash. But 250-300 people with 50-60 cars, take 5-10-20 crore rupees and head to the jungle or a mountain armed with a script we have to film this. It takes tons of effort, it is a very tough job. It is easy for viewers to reject a film saying that they wasted their 300 bucks. But making a film really takes a lot of effort Do you the film industry is changing Yes. What I mean to say is that actors with ordinary faces are becoming stars today, be it Nawazuddin or Rajkumar Rao to an extent, you are also counted amongst the top actors. But this wasn't the norm 15 20 years ago, most actors had a certain kind of look tall, broad, fair skinned etc. Do you think this happening because we are now making more realistic cinema where realistic faces are being cast Of course. Or is this happening just because many more movies are being made and the so called stars are not keen to play small parts like these. There has definitely been a change and your question included a lot of those answers in itself. As much as the contribution goes to the film industry, a lot of this change can be credited to the viewers . If small films like these or ordinary looking actors are able to influence the viewer using their skill or craft. Look, up until a few years ago the audience never possessed any weapon to make themselves heard. Today, in the age of social media, a film releases and an actor who only played a part in just 2 scenes but did it well, will be talked about. People will search for him, they figure out his name, they talk about him. This happened with Katekar's character from Sacred Games. Yes. We have a new generation of storytellers, who aren't from Mumbai, they have a lot of life experience. They become from places like Hazaribagh, Jamshetpur. Directors are coming in from Benaras. Earlier the directors would never come from anywhere else. Most of them would be born in Mumbai. Is there an advantage to being a trained actor Yes, definitely. Just like.. to become a neurosurgeon, you must study medicine If I have a passion for cracking skulls open, I can't do it I can't say that it's my hobby, my passion, let me do it The same way, without becoming an infrastructural engineer, you can't end up designing a bridge However good your sketching may be. Bablu makes great sketches. Bablu why don't you design a flyover to Noida For that, Bablu has to study that discipline The same way, it is important to train to become an actor, wherever the training may come from. That training could be, It could be your parents training you This training could come from working with 5-10 good filmmakers too The director can also become a guru He teaches you to do a scene a certain way or you could go to film school You could train in theater Let's take an audience question So the question is, why do you think that the representation of rural India is so violent in films Has this perception always been there or is it the other way around Look, when films used to be made on the underworld dons of Mumbai it was Mumbai that was represented as a city choking with crime. Devastation, women, overcrowding, corrupt politicians, goons, mafia etc all used to be shown there Lately, all of it has moved to central India and small towns Be it Bareilly ki barfi or Badhai Ho as slice of life stories are also being centred in central India and B towns, crime stories too are being centred in B towns So basically it's the novelty factor Yes.. I can't say. The filmmakers will know better, I am an actor, I also think that it is completely accurate, the bloodshed is not so crazy Mirzapur, I know, is known for it's Kajri, but there is no mention of it in the series But they had a different story to tell, I am not the filmmaker or the scriptwriter, I am just an actor Thank you for the answer. There is not a lot of criticism of your work but if one were to look closely, one leading criticism of your work is that all your characters are from the same universe, they are very similar to each other What do you think about it and why is it so I don't know why, I am going to think about it, how to fix it I am a relaxed person, I take things easy, be it the role of a goon or the owner of a sweet shop, Narottam Mishra's part. If it can be done easily, why create ruckus around it Screaming and making your eyes go big. Without popping my eyes, I can scare you and make you laugh My guru taught me 'through minimum, create maximum'. He used to say, Do a small thing that has a huge impact. Thats the pattern that I follow now. So if you have to differentiate among all my work youll have to watch it with great concentration. There would be a lot of similarities like seeming calm and composed. Through my work I create a painting that requires a person to go deep inside it to understand it and the deeper you go inside it the more details youll observe. My personality is reflected in my characters. I prefer to be composed in both my personal life and my characters. There is a very thin line between the two, itll require the viewer to be serious and composed as well. At the same time Im also experimenting with the rhythm that has been maintained in my life These days people have started to message me on social media saying just be like you are, youre very humble. And Im like, are they afraid that Ill become arrogant or am I gonna become scary No, but you can be a little arrogant. Youve earned it. Im revealing this secret in this interview today that Im trying to break this rhythm that has been formed in my life. So Im either supposed to become arrogant or rude, but I have to break it somehow or my life will become monotonous. Are we gonna see you in Dhamaal 5 Of course youll see me in Dhamaal 5, and Ill be doing it happily, I have no problems with it. I believe its only because of big commercial films like Dhamaal 5 that theaters are functional or theyll all become banquet halls. We might watch films like Gurgaon online and talk about them on social media but, at the end of the day cinema is an industry, the person who invests in it they do want profit out of it. If a person invests 2 rupees in a film and earn 1.50 rupee out of it that person wont go on to make a meaningful film. Theyll give it up. It isnt as if a doctor has asked to make meaningful films for the sake of good health. Everyone wants to earn, even I want to earn well, own a luxury car. But now.. I am earning now. Thats what I was trying to ask. But.. I forgot the question As an actor, Im sure you believe in freedom of speech and do you think.. a lot of restrictions are being imposed on freedom of speech in India, do you think theres a shrinking space for dissent in India I strongly feel that in democracy, dissent is equally important. One should agree on disagreements also. Democracy works best when it provides a space for disagreement, people should be allowed to raise their voice. I said it yesterday also, initially our country was an agriculture based country and now we have become a violent country, we are ready to hurt anyone. But this is an illuminating country, a very illuminating one in every aspect. I have travelled to almost 30 countries. Lets ignore the cleanliness, otherwise we all are amazing people. If you ask anyone for the directions anywhere in Indore, Patna or anywhere, that person will drop you to your destination. I agree with all your points, dissent should also be respected. There might be difference between our opinions. Both of us have different ideologies but that wont make you my enemy, thats what I think. Do you think our country has that atmosphere, where different ideologies are leading to a conflict Yes, of course. I have noticed that social media has increased it. People have started abusing each other for having different ideologies. If you disagree with someone just tell them you disagree, just say no I dont agree rather than abusing someone. Nowadays I see so many people abusing each other, I dont know since when did we become a nation that believes in abusing people. I strongly feel that if god has given you the power to speak then you should say things thatll enlighten someones life, thats what I feel. I think you could have made for a great politician. I still can! Exactly! Not right now though. I dont when, right now I dont want to get involved in politics. You never know what tomorrow has for you, but I am an aware citizen who is interested in politics and is quite serious about it too. Pankaj ji, if a 14 year old is watching this interview in a village who wants become Pankaj Tripathi, what message do you have for him I will tell him to keep going, be honest, be truthful. Theres nothing bigger than honesty and truth. Itll take time, a lot of time. Youll face a lot of failures but that prepares you for success. So just keep going with all honesty. On that note, thank you so much. It was great fun talking to you. If you like our conversation, then do watch it again, subscribe to ScoopWhoop Unscripted, and then share this video as much as you can. And.. Well, thats it. Theres one thing that I dont understand, people ask me to say hi I am Pankaj Tripathi and youre watching me on ScoopWhoop. The viewer knows where hes watching the video. Hes not stupid who wont know where hes watching it. When people ask me to say this, Im like the viewer would know what channel it is. Especially on TV. TV, digital, anywhere. Im Pankaj and youre watching this channel. There are chances the viewer wont know who I am but Im pretty sure hell know what channel hes watching. Shall we get on with it Shall we play a game now Yes, let's play it quickly. We will give you situations and you will have to act them out. Okay. Give me the situation quickly. Action! Shall I give you the situation now Yes, please. The first one is You have a son and you stole some of his pot and are smoking it. My son's Okay. Your son enters the room and catches you red-handed. How would you react But you've got to tell him how my son likes to smoke it in a pipe or a cigarette. Pipe. He likes to smoke it in a pipe You have become a Chilamchi What's up dad At least, save some for me. Arrey tumhari poori duniya maarti hai, hum maar liye to kya dikkat hai Get lost. Dad, don't make me act so well, I'll break character. Listen to me son. I had gone to the doctor. I asked him suggest some tonic. Here, you can also take some. Watch out for your mom. If she comes, we'll giver her some too. So, I went to see the doctor and asked him to give me something for my well-being. He asked me what's wrong I told him I just want to feel young. So, he said, get some 'Prasad'. So, I am taking this as a medicine. Don't get mad. You also use it for medicinal purpose right I only told the doctor about it. Oh, I see. I hear it's been legalised in America. Yes, they have legalised it over there. Okay, dad. Let's move on to the next scene. Sir, you are the manager in a company. And you have to fire an employee. But this employee is too sweet and you are feeling very nervous because you have never fired anyone. Good morning sir. How are you doing All well at home Sir, so what should I do today You come this side first. Sure, sir. Now Now wait. Which bank do you have an account in In SBI, sir. SBI Yes. How much money you've got in that account Sir, Rs 30,000. Give me some of that. I need it. Okay, no problem sir. You will give me money Yes. You will give me whatever I ask for You can't even perform duty well, you will give me money But I am trying my best sir. How dare you talk to me like that I am sorry sir. Did I do something wrong So the third situation is you are directing a big budget film and you have come to meet an egoistic superstar. Egoistic superstar Yes, and you want to cast him, not as the lead but as the hero's father. So, how would you do it Action! Hey Pankaj! Tell me what is it This exact chair, I used with Sanjay also. Wow. That's great. You are so graceful even in the way you sit sir. How wonderful. You will have only water sir Yes. I have got this script. Vanity! Umm sir. They will come. So, I have got this script and the role is amazing. So, how was your recent holiday sir Malibu was good. You had her along with you right Yes, she even stayed with me. What's going on with you I have got this script sir. It's a brilliant script sir. It's mind blowing. It's been written keeping you in mind. What's my character You are playing yourself. It is just you. Give me the visuals Pankaj. So, there is you. You are a pilot. And you are flying a plane. And your younger brother is also there. Okay. He sitting behind you. He has a girlfriend. Okay. Cool. The two of them are in love and it is their love story. Okay, it's their love story. You are the pilot and you are flying the plane. Yes. Okay. I am the pilot. Because their life lies in their hands. So, you are in the lead. But it is their love story. This story you are talking about, who is it going to revolve around Who is the protagonist Aeroplane