Pankaj Tripathi on ’83: We’ve recreated history, there were moments while shooting where we had goosebumps

Pankaj Tripathi, in an exclusive interview, talks about how he has managed to play the character of PR Man Singh in ‘83, his first day in Mumbai, the importance of playing a lead role, and much more. Excerpts from a conversation.

Eshita Bhargava December 20, 2021 08:08:53 IST
Pankaj Tripathi on ’83: We’ve recreated history, there were moments while shooting where we had goosebumps

Give him any character and he’ll make it his own with his signature style – Pankaj Tripathi likes to keep it real, effortless, and unhurried. He is not an actor who would need a major part of a big film to ace a character. He can simply elevate the story with his impeccable performance. The wide array of roles Pankaj Tripathi has played in Bollywood in the past 18 years stands out for the simplicity, spontaneity, and distinct calmness that marks his approach.

The 45-year-old, in an exclusive interview, talks about how he has managed to play the character of PR Man Singh in ‘83, his first day in Mumbai, the importance of playing a lead role, and much more. Excerpts from a conversation.

You are playing World Cup-winning team manager Man Singh in '83. Tell us something about it. How did you prepare for it? What was your starting point?

Yes, I am playing the character of PR Man Singh Ji. People know the players but not him. There’s not much information available about him, but his hard work helped India to win the World Cup. You’ll get to see his contribution towards winning the World Cup in the film.

Pankaj Tripathi on 83 Weve recreated history there were moments while shooting where we had goosebumps

I spent an entire day with Man sir at his Hyderabad residence. We were together from morning to evening, ate together and even saw his house. He has a personal cricket museum which is just fabulous. There’s a room dedicated to cricket in Man Bhai’s house. Tendulkar Saab had gone for its inauguration. He really loves the sport, has even written books on Hyderabad cricket.

What made you say yes to the script? How was it when you were reading the script?

I had just heard the script and said yes. It was a no-brainer. The research was so good that I understood the character in the first narration.

The film is already getting appreciation, what are your expectations?

We’ve recreated history with the film and there were several moments while shooting where we had goosebumps, especially at the Lord's stadium where we played the final match. It’s a soulful film. I hope the audience gets to see that. They’ll get to know details that they never knew.

How was it collaborating with Kabir Khan? How is he different from other directors you’ve worked with?

He is a tough taskmaster. He gets what he wants and never compromises with his vision. I watched the film from his perspective when he narrated it to me.

Pankaj Tripathi on 83 Weve recreated history there were moments while shooting where we had goosebumps

Any behind-the-scenes incidents that you would want to share?

Every day after the practice match, we used to go back to our hotels, and both Hardy Sandhu and Amy Virk used to sing and we used to dance and enjoy. You’ll not get to see that in the film, but we had a great time.

Do you remember the day you came to Mumbai to pursue acting?

October 16, 2004, at 7 am – I reached Mumbai. I can never forget it. Coming to Mumbai, falling in love, getting married – these are a few special moments and I can never forget these.

Any person who wants to become an actor and comes to Mumbai has a deeper process – it’s not easy and involves a lot of struggle, money, passion, dedication, and courage. It’s never just about coming to the city of dreams. Mumbai aane k liye paiso se zaada sahas ki zaroorat hoti hai. (More than money, you need courage)

How has the journey been? From television to movies?

Fruitful. The courage I came with, I continued with that. It helped to keep me encouraged and grounded. Sahas ne kabhi let down feel ni hone dia.

 

We’ll be seeing you in Bachchan Pandey, Laal Singh Chadha, OMG 2, you are playing the lead in Sherdil…. I can go on and on… Tell us something about the projects.

All the films are going to entertain the audience. OMG 2 is made on a sensitive issue. Amit Rai has written a fabulous script, and he is a great director too. Working with Akshay sir is a pleasant experience. He is very disciplined, and it’s a very important film too. It will talk about a very important message,” he signs off. Sherdil is about man-animal conflict and I’ll be playing the lead character.

How important do you think it is to play a lead?

It is important to play a good character. But, to be honest, every actor has a dream to play the lead in the films. I am working for a better future and the lead is also a character but he is the protagonist. Even I want it and I have no qualms in accepting it. In my eyes, from the day I stepped into Mumbai, I have tried to just give my best. However, the kind of hard work, sincerity, and passion I put in is the same for a small role as well as a lead role.

You once said, “Waise bhi acting ka payment kaun deta hai? Waiting aur retake ka payment milta hai.” What did you mean?

We shoot for 12 hours a day but it’s not possible to pay us for acting. It’s an art. We get money for waiting, retakes, make-up… No one can pay us for our hard work and performance as an actor.

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