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Gone are times when the maa and pitaji in movies were stereotypical roles

Gone are times when the maa and pitaji in movies were stereotypical roles that required them to weep at the drop of a hat. In new-age Bollywood, parents are not only hip and cool, but also crazy hilarious. And this is evident in the recently released film Bareilly Ki Barfi. In conversation with Bhakti Mehta, talented actor – Pankaj Tripathi – shared his journey about playing a modern-day parent.

ON THE BRIEF

We had already discussed the matter. So when Ashwiny gave me the script, I liked it very much. At first, I thought I was doing the role of Ayushmann’s friend Munna but then Ashiwiny told me I was playing Kriti’s father in the film. I told her my age didn’t seem suitable to do this role but she was, like, ‘Aap toh achche actor, aap koi bhi role kar sakte hai.’

ON HIS ROLE

The story was very interesting and the age gap was addressed too, so I was, like, let’s give this a try. The role is very nice, we don’t play the Bollywood stereotype father-daughter roles here. The character is that of a father who lives in a small town but has given his daughter the freedom she needs to live her life. He doesn’t insult her character when she smokes or has a drink. It is a very modern father-daughter relationship and many people are writing articles on that nowadays.

ON DIRECTOR ASHIWINY IYER TIWARI

She is brilliant. Adbudh hain who bilkul. She gives her actors complete freedom and trusts them not to screw up. There should be an understanding between a director and an actor, they should have a connection. I don’t think any director I have ever had has understood me better than Ashwiny has because not once did she describe what I should do in a particular scene. I don’t remember lines easily but I give my all to the content of the film and she supported this process. This made things easier for me.

ON THE CHALLENGES

There was a challenge with my character’s age as I had to play someone 15 years older than I am in real life. I had to look like Kriti’s father and Seemaji’s husband, so I had to use a certain kind of body language in the film. That was the only challenge.

ON THE AUDIENCE

As far as the audience is concerned, I was trying to do a different kind of comedy which didn’t include talking fast, pulling funny faces and all that. I was thinking about how the audience would understand this style of mine. But many people have given me positive feedback after watching the film. I think our audience is growing. It is important that the audience accepts the experiments that we do or we will never discover anything new.

ON FUTURE PROJECTS

Next, I have Newton, which is releasing in September. I have done seven to eight films in the last year. After Newton, I have Fukrey Returns. I have been getting many scripts but am taking my time to make a decision. Now people have faith in me, so I can afford to choose carefully.

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