Udayavni Special

Films can give birth to thoughts: Pankaj Tripathi on his role in ”Gunjan Saxena”


PTI, Aug 9, 2020, 5:56 PM IST

Image Source: Instagram

New Delhi: Actor Pankaj Tripathi remembers the phone calls from his friends after they saw “Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl”. As fathers to daughters, they were moved by the bond he shared with Janhvi Kapoor”s Gunjan in the movie.

Tripathi, a versatile performer who has played characters of all shades, loved playing Anup Saxena, a man who doesn’t believe that aspirations should be gendered.

“It”s a very important role in my career because of the way I am or want to be as a father, the film represents that. ”Mujhe gunda, mawali bana dete hai” (I often get villainous roles). But playing Anup Saxena was close to what I am in real life with my daughter or aspire to be. I want the world to have more such fathers,” he told PTI in a Zoom interview.

“I remember when people who know me watched the film, they called me and told me, ”Yaar, after seeing your film, I went home and hugged my daughter”. This solves my purpose,” Tripathi added.

The 43-year-old actor may be more famous for his negative turns in movies such as “Gangs of Wasseypur”, “Gurgaon” and web series like “Mirzapur”, but he has also mastered the art of playing progressively uncomplicated men like Indian Railways employee Sadhya ji in “Masaan”, a math teacher in “Nil Battey Sannata”, and a doting father in “Bareilly Ki Barfi” and now in “Gunjan Saxena”.

Tripathi believes films can help make people aware of a good idea.

“I know that films don’t change people but films can put a thought in one”s mind and if you have that thought then maybe you will change a little. It is important to have that thought. I hope I have managed that in the film,” he added.

His co-star Janhvi shared that her father, producer Boney Kapoor, messaged Tripathi after watching the film.

“Boney Ji sent me a message late in the night. He was very emotional after watching the film. He wrote, ”You are a better father to Janhvi than me”. It touched me,” Tripathi said recalling the conversation between the real and reel fathers.

His dynamic with Janhvi’s Gunjan in the upcoming movie runs parallel to her aspiration to become a pilot, a dream that her father fuels despite opposition from his wife and son, who believe it to be a job unfit for women.

The film is based on the life of Gunjan Saxena, then a flying officer, who became the first woman combat aviator to fly into a war zone during the 1999 Kargil War.

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