Pankaj Tripathi is a very famous Bollywood actor.
He became a very successful actor despite hailing from a backward village and facing many struggles.
And this makes the life story of this versatile actor very inspiring.
So read on.
Pankaj Tripathi was born on 5 September 1976 into a middle class Brahmin family in Belsand village, Gopalganj district, Bihar.
Both his father, Pandit Benaras Tripathi and mother, Hemanti Devi were small farmers.
Pandit Benaras Tripathi is also a pandit.
Pankaj Tripathi has two brothers and two sisters and he is the youngest of them all.
Connected to nature-
Pankaj Tripathi grew up in Belsand and was very close to nature.
During the time he was growing up, he didn’t have electricity in his home and so, there was no provision for him to watch the television and so, he had only one option, to enjoy nature.
Pankaj Tripathi loved swimming in the river near his home.
Early love for acting-
In Belsand, a day after the Chhath festival, theater shows were being conducted and Pankaj Tripathi grew up seeing these shows.
And when he turned twelve, he also started performing in these shows and here, he became passionate about acting but at that time, he had no plans to grow up to become an actor.
Unable to afford a tractor-
Pankaj Tripathi’s father wanted to purchase a tractor for farming but he couldn’t afford it.
So, he convinced Pankaj Tripathi to focus on studies and become a doctor, so that they would be in a position to afford a tractor.
After becoming an actor, he said in an interview that if his father would have bought a tractor, he too would have become a farmer much like his father.
Pankaj Tripathi studied in a Hindi medium school and was a good sportsman.
He was good at high jumping and sprinting 100 meters.
Moving to Patna-
Pankaj Tripathi moved to Patna to study intermediate in biology, physics and chemistry (BPC).
But he couldn’t pass the entrance exam even after trying twice, so he gave up his dreams of studying BPC.
Becoming a cook-
Pankaj Tripathi’s uncle suggested that he enroll for a cooking course in Food Craft Institute and become a cook and then migrate to either Europe or Tokyo, Japan.
During that time, Indian cooks were highly paid abroad, so he was also happy to work as a cook overseas.
After doing the course for two years, Pankaj Tripathi joined as an apprentice in the Hotel Maurya Patna.
Later, he became an assistant chef in this hotel.
Pankaj Tripathi also worked as a supervisor in the hotel and his job was to maintain the cleanliness of the kitchen and supervise the preparations for breakfast.
No to politics, yes to drama-
At a young age, Pankaj Tripathi was drawn towards politics.
He used to frequent the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) branches in his village.
Even while studying in Patna, Pankaj Tripathi was active in student politics and was a member of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
Later, he saw a play by the name, Andha Kuan and was very influenced by it to act in dramas.
Then, Pankaj Tripathi prioritised acting over politics.
Love for theater-
Even while working as a chef, Pankaj Tripathi used to take the time out to perform in the theaters.
In the mornings, he used to work as a chef and in the evenings, act in the theater as a comedian.
Eventually, Pankaj Tripathi started losing his interest in working as a chef and wanted to become a full-time actor.
In 1995, Pankaj Tripathi played the role of a thief in a play based on Nandlal’s Leela story of Bhisham Sahni.
This play was directed by Vijay Kumar, a National School of Drama pass out.
People appreciated Pankaj Tripathi’s performance very much and he also got featured in a newspaper.
And during that time, he decided to continue his acting and from then on, he started acting regularly.
Likewise, Pankaj Tripathi performed in plays from 1995 to 2001.
While in Patna he also watched many plays.
Getting inspired by Manoj Bajpayee-
Manoj Bajpayee hailed from a small village, Belwa and became a famous actor.
And this inspired Pankaj Tripathi that he too can become a successful actor like him despite hailing from a small village.
Attracted to NSD-
During that time, Pankaj Tripathi was working in a hotel and wanted to switch his career and follow his passion of becoming an actor.
So, after working as a chef for two years, he resigned from his job.
Pankaj Tripathi read in a magazine that famous actors like Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri attended National School of Drama (NSD) and so, he understood that he too can become an actor by attending NSD.
Struggling to get into NSD-
The minimum educational qualification to join NSD is graduation.
But Pankaj Tripathi did only an Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) course and it was not considered graduation.
So, he took admission into a graduation course and it took him three years to complete graduation.
Then, Pankaj Tripathi applied for NSD but he got rejected and this continued two times.
Luckily, in his third attempt he got selected into NSD.
Convincing his father-
Pankaj Tripathi’s father was worried for him whether or not he would get a job after graduating from NSD.
He convinced his father that he could get a government job as a teacher in the dramatics department after graduating from NSD.
In 2001, Pankaj Tripathi joined the NSD, New Delhi.
Here, he specialised in acting and graduated in 2004.
Even while studying at NSD, Pankaj Tripathi was financially independent as he never requested money from his parents, he used to earn by performing in street plays.
After graduating from NSD, Pankaj Tripathi returned to Patna and started doing theater.
But within four months, he realised that it is very difficult for him to survive as a theater actor.
So, Pankaj Tripathi decided to shift to Mumbai for greener pastures.
Shifting to Mumbai-
Pankaj Tripathi along with his wife, Mridula reached Mumbai on 16 October 2004.
Here, he struggled to get decent opportunities until 2012.
Mukesh Chhabra, a director, noticed Pankaj Tripathi and convinced Anurag Kashyap to give him a role in the Gangs of Wasseypur movie.
Gangs of Wasseypur was released on 22 June 2012 and this was his breakthrough movie.
Only after this movie, Pankaj Tripathi got recognised and started getting good opportunities.
Struggling in Mumbai-
In his initial years as an actor, Pankaj Tripathi didn’t get sufficient opportunities to act in the films, so he used to act in television serials, advertisements, corporate films and plays.
Initially, he also got rejected many times for acting in ads.
Even though Pankaj Tripathi got disappointed many times, he never gave up.
In television serials, he used to mainly act in the police inspector roles.
Pankaj Tripathi’s first ad was of Tata Tea in which he played the role of a politician.
His first movie-
Pankaj Tripathi’s first Bollywood movie was Run.
This movie was released on 14 May 2004.
Prior to this, he acted in a Kannada film by the name, Chigurida Kanasu and this movie was released on 2 October 2003.
As during that time Pankaj Tripathi wasn’t getting sufficient chances to act, he made a plan B of working as a construction labourer.
But he never had to work as a labourer, thanks to his wife who financially supported him.
In 2004, Mridula secured a teaching job in a school at Goregaon.
She also provided Pankaj Tripathi with moral support.
In 1993, Pankaj Tripathi saw Mridula in the tilak ceremony of his sister’s wedding and instantly fell in love with her.
She used to live in Kolkata and while he was studying at NSD in New Delhi, he used to occasionally travel to Kolkata to meet her.
Finally, both of them got married on 15 January 2004.
This couple is blessed with a daughter, Aashi Tripathi.
Currently, Pankaj Tripathi lives in Madh Island.
Pankaj Tripathi won many awards like-
- National Film Award – Special Mention for Newton.
- Best Supporting Actor for Stree.
- iReel Awards in the category of Best Actor – Drama and Indian Television Academy Awards in the category of Best Actor – Web Series for Mirzapur.
Some interesting facts about Pankaj Tripathi-
- Pankaj Tripathi travelled all over India and is a hodophile. He also travelled to more than 30 countries.
- He travelled India on a low budget in trains and lived at places like gurdwaras.
- Pankaj Tripathi is a fan of Irrfan Khan and in his initial acting career, he used to copy his acting style but later, he developed his own acting style.
- He loves farming and is a spiritual person.
- Pankaj Tripathi is a foodie and his favourite dish is Litti.
- His favourite destinations are Wah Umngot, Meghalaya, Nubra Valley, Leh and various places in Madhya Pradesh. He also likes Tokyo and Scotland and mountains.
- Pankaj Tripathi’s favourite actors are Irrfan Khan, Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah and Shah Rukh Khan.
- His favourite films are Newton, Gurgaon and his favourite TV series is Mirzapur.
- Pankaj Tripathi also acted in a Tamil film, Kaala and a Telugu film, Doosukeltha and a Punjabi film, Harjeeta.
- He loves reading literature.
So, how are you inspired by the amazing success story of Pankaj Tripathi?
Tell me in the comment section below.
Featured Image credit: Maximilian Bühn/Wikimedia Commons
Pankaj Tripathi Image credit: Bollywood Hungama/Wikimedia Commons