Pankaj Tripathi is not obsessed with power. What interests him is giving faces to the unknown “colourful” people who are comfortable getting lost in the crowd. “I’m not interested in power. (I’m) Not hungry for it at all,” Tripathi says in an interview with PTI. The actor had a breakthrough as the menacing butcher Sultan Qureshi in Gangs of Wasseypur and has since broken the mould and chronicled different lives on screen: a gentle teacher, a progressive father and a funny uncle.
“People often give me powerful roles, but the joy of playing a powerless man is unmatched. Everyone is hungry for power. A husband, who is at a low post in an office’s hierarchy, comes home and becomes the boss. There’s power play even in love, between couples,” he adds. Few look at the unassuming lot that does not crave for authority, the actor says. And Tripathi finds this space exciting. “I feel no one wants to accept powerless people. No one aspires to be that. Why can’t we have people who don’t want to make an identity and get lost in the crowd? It’s an interesting area. In Masaan, I had just two scenes. He books train tickets and that’s his life. Even the teacher in Nil Battey Sannata, no one knows him.
“These characters always pull me towards them because I grew up watching people like these. If we search, there are people who are just doing their job without running after power, fame or money.” It was this arc, which Tripathi found interesting about his character in the upcoming Hotstar Special Criminal Justice. The show is the Indian adaption of the hit BBC produced series of the same name, which was later adapted into the Emmy Award-winning HBO show The Night Of.
Tripathi, who plays lawyer Madhav Mishra in the thriller series, says the show touches upon the current situation of the society. “Madhav Mishra struggles everyday for survival outside court in search of a client. He’s a powerless man. Though he has his own complexes and troubles, he’s happy. The series talks about law and order, police and urban crisis beautifully. People of several economical strata have been included in it. ” The actor says the series aims to be a nail-biter which revolves around a taxi driver, played by Vikrant Massey, whose perfect night-out turns into a nightmare when he is arrested for murder. “Criminal Justice” will start streaming from April 5. It also stars Jackie Shroff and Mita Vashisht among others.