I have learnt to become patient as an actor: Pankaj Kapur

5 years ago

As an actor he brings a certain depth and range to his characters and that's why veteran actor Pankaj Kapur often goes unemployed.

Kapur, 58, who is returning to acting after a gap of three years with Vishal Bhardwaj's 'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola', says good roles are hard to come by.

"I have learnt to become patient as an actor. Many people from the industry come up to me and say 'We don't see you onscreen much'. But where are the scripts? Do you think I am not sitting in my office and waiting for something like 'Matru' to happen to me? I would love to do four such films in a year," Kapur told PTI in an interview.

An actor par excellence, Kapur turned to TV to act in shows like 'Karamchand', 'Zabaan Sambhaal Ke' and 'Neem Ka Ped' when he was not getting good offers in films.

He returned to cinema with landmark roles in films like 'Ek Doctor Ki Maut', 'Roja', 'Maqbool', 'Dharm' and 'Blue Umbrella' among many others.

Though he believes cinema is offering him better characters now, Kapur says the actor in him still gets insecure if good roles don't come his way often.

"Lot of scripts do come my way but sometimes I feel I am being too selective, sometimes I feel I deserve better, sometimes I feel I need to earn a livelihood, sometimes it disappoints and disheartens me but it does not make me angry because somewhere I have accepted it as an actor.

"I feel that God has been amazingly kind to me. How many actors get to stay for 30 years and play the kind of roles that I have done? I am human and get insecure because I am a middle class man and I need to feed my family and acting is the only job I know," says Kapur.

Another myth that is attached to Kapur is that he only likes intense roles. Kapur, on his part, says he is happy to do anything that is demanded of him as long as it offers something substantial to his actor's self.

"Somehow people have this idea that I am this pseudo kind of actor who is against entertaining roles. If I can dance in a Vishal Bhardwaj film then why I can't do it in your film. I would love a director to come up to me and offer me a part and even if I say 'no', he has the courage to go and make his film. Maybe we can work together on something else," says Kapur.

Kapur and Bhardwaj share a long association and they have developed an ease over the years by working on films like 'Blue Umbrella' and 'Maqbool', which is counted among one of the finest performances of Kapur.

Reflecting on his equation with Bhardwaj, Kapur says, "There are people who come your way and the interaction happens in such a way that you don't realise when you become friends. We developed a certain kind of trust and ease while working on 'Maqbool' and then he cast me in 'Blue Umbrella'.

"I also saw this young man who had this hunger to improve, to become better with each film. That is something that Vishal and I share as people. He is simple and from a middle class family, so am I. He wants to do good cinema and I want to do good acting and that's how we bonded."

Kapur, who plays a village head in 'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola', will be seen doing some rare stunts and dancing in the film, something he has not done before.

"Each character that you play there is something that is always difficult. In 'Maqbool', I was asked to play a mafia don but I never met a don. How do I create it? I try to dig everything from the script and create a character who conveys that sense of power. It is sheer characterisation.

"Mandola's role is very charming. He is very boisterous, full of life, up there kind of character. He is drunk most of the times. When he is drunk, he is great and loves people but he is different when he is sober."

Kapur says he was nervous initially to play Mandola because he was required to do a lot of dancing and stunts but he practised for it.

"I had not danced since my theatre days. Nobody had expected it of me but Vishal came up with this character and I had to learn and did whatever best I could do."

Ask him whether he is working on anything new, Kapur says, "Right now I am unemployed, and I mean it."

But he hopes to continue acting this year before he returns behind the camera again. PTI

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