Pankaj Tripathi is the man of the hour. He started his Bollywood journey by essaying a small part in films like Gangs of Wasseypur, Dilwale, Omkara, to meatier roles in Stree, Newton and Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, Mirzapur 2, Sacred Games among others. His career trajectory has been quite interesting. Pankaj's character as Kaleen Bhaiya in Mirzapur is unmatchable, and he has raised the bar so high that no other actor can match up to his acting prowess.
The versatile actor's role in Mirzapur as Kaleen Bhaiya has a separate fandom on social media. However, his stardom and achievements haven't changed the father and husband in him. In his heart, he is still one of those fathers who wants his daughter to eat vegetables.
As Mirzapur Season 2 is all set to stream from October 23. Pankaj Tripathi in an exclusive conversation with IBTimes spoke about his journey, the similarity between him and Kaleen Bhaiya, what's his biggest struggle as a father and more.
A few hours from now your show will release, what are your expectation from Mirzapur 2?
I am excited like everyone else is. I am looking forward to people's reaction. This time the season is vengeful, the subplot has changed, there is a newness that every character has got on board. There is drama, action and for the ones who have watched season 1 will understand that season 2 commences from where the first season stopped.
You are monikered as Kaleen Bhaiya. How has this role changed the way people look at you?
Where ever I go people call me Kaleen Bhaiya. It's overwhelming, people love the show, and as an actor, this does make me beam with pride. For me, every role is special and close to my heart. For instance, Ek halwai ke liye kaun si mithai achi lagti hai yeh bolna mushkil hoga, waise he mere liye mere sare roles special hai. (For a confectioner to say which sweet he likes more is tough. Likewise, all the roles that I have essayed to date are close to my heart.) I learn through few roles, I give my input in few of them. It's a give and take process.
What traits of Kaleen Bhaiya do you have in real life?
Kaleen Bhaiya is a well crafted fictional character there is nothing similar. The only similarity that Kaleen and I have is we both are soft-spoken, hum aaram aarma se baat karte hai.
Log Mujhe hire karte hai, cast karte hai paisa milta hai mein karke aajata hoon , Bahut zyada load nai leta character ka. (People hire me they cast me, and I get the money. I don't take a load over characters that I play).
I came to Mumbai for survival, and I am happy and humbled that people have accepted me. To survive in the industry need patience, always work on your craft and be honest with your work.
How does your family react to gruesome roles? Are they your fan or critic?
My family doesn't take me seriously (smiles). Mein apni beti ke liye sabji leke aane wala pita hoon aur beti ko bolaa hoon kha le kha le (I buy vegetables for my daughter and tell her to eat). We live a very normal and mediocre life.
Kaleen Bhaiya's message for fans
Wear a mask, maintain social distancing, stay healthy and stay safe.