Although it helps entering the glamorous world of Bollywood if your parents are cine stars or you are super rich, but only talent takes you a long way. When a 17-year-old boy was tilling his fields under the scorching heat in his village in Bihar, far away from the maximum city, he could only dream about seeing himself of celluloid screen someday.
Today, this man is a well-known face who charmed us with his cold-blooded, raw character of Sultan who was feared to slaughter 60 buffaloes alone, the super active and strict principal and math teacher in Nil Battey Sannata, Pandit ji in Fukre, and many others lively characters. Not many know about the humble roots of this magical actor named Pankaj Tripathi.
Didn’t Know About Films Till Std 10
Mumbai is the city where Bollywood dreams are made and crashed every single day. There are plenty of people from all the corners of the world who come to Bollywood to try their luck. Only a select few who keep chasing their dream and work extraordinarily hard are noticed. Pankaj Tripathi is one such person who has managed to make his mark in the industry.
Born to a farmer in Belsand village of Gopalganj in Bihar, Pankaj had a humble childhood, far away from luxury and glitter. He did not know of films till he was in STD 10 as television was a luxury in most homes. The nearest theater was 20 km away from his village which had no concrete road connecting it with the outside world. Till STD 11, he would work in his fields and help his father.
Entertainment in his village meant performing locally on festivals among a bunch on onlookers. As a kid, Pankaj performed in plays during Chatth Puja where he would play a girl and would be showered with applause and appreciation. Such a response would make him very happy. He enjoyed acting and loved the adulation that people showered on him.
Almost Giving Up His Dream
After schooling, Pankaj was sent to Patna to study for medical but had no interest in the field. After much pressure from parents, he spent a few months interning for a hotel management course in Patna. Alongside peeling potatoes, onions and eggs, he started doing theater. When he decided to pursue acting as a career it was a challenge to break this to his parents. After a lot of speculations and mustering courage, he finally told his parents.
The only thing his father asked was, “Is se guzara ho jayega?” (if acting would provide him two square meals). He convinced them that this is what he wanted to do in life and soon enough reached Delhi and joined the National School of Drama. Here he fine-tuned his skills and learnt the technical aspects of acting and things associated with acting.
There was a point when he was close to giving up on his dream because he couldn’t speak English and everyone around him knew impeccable English. However, his acting skills were highly appreciated and this pushed him to complete his studies. While he put in all the hard work, success was still not in sight for him. But that’s the thing with people who have conviction, they always believe that with consistency and hard work every challenge can be crossed.
Working In A Restaurant
While he was doing theater in Patna, he took up a job of kitchen supervisor in Hotel Mourya to pay for his survival in the city. He recalls that the manager would often scold him for being reckless. One day when he was at the receiving end, he told the manager that one day he would come as a guest in the same hotel and they all would serve him, which became a reality a few years later.
Pankaj has acted in movies like Manjhi, Run, Nil Battey Sannata, Omkara, Masaan, Fukrey, Gunday and many more and today is a well know face in Bollywood.
He is the first one in his family, and may be in his entire region, to have taken up acting as his career and the struggle has indeed been a long one. He climbed up the role with tiny roles that came his way and yet left his impression of the audience. His humility in personality and truthfulness in acting is a product of his roots and the struggle he had done over the years.
Share the amazing journey of Pankaj and encourage everyone to follow their dreams.