‘One must do his bit to save a dying art or language’

Acting, writing, directing and producing, the very talented and versatile Pankaj Kapur has done it all.
Kapur has always immortalised his characters through his striking performances.(HT Photo)
Kapur has always immortalised his characters through his striking performances.(HT Photo)
Published on Apr 11, 2019 02:30 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Lucknow | ByS Farah Rizvi

Acting, writing, directing and producing, the very talented and versatile Pankaj Kapur has done it all. His characters like Mr Tarneja from ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’, Budhai Ram of ‘Neem Ka ped’, the carrot-munching spy in ‘Karamchand’ or Mussadilal from the award-winning series ‘Office-Office’, Kapur has always immortalised his characters through his striking performances. Kapur, who was in Lucknow for the shooting of an upcoming film, talked about his films, TV, family and more.

LUCKNOW CONNECTION

“Lucknow is such a delight to be in and work. I was here two years back for a show of my novella ‘Dopehri’, though I have been coming to the city since the 70s. Then after taking up acting, I came here for Sudhir Mishra’s film ‘Yeh Woh Manzil Toh Nahi’, back in 80s. Then in the 90s, ‘Neem Ka Ped’ happened, though it was extensively shot in Sultanpur but still Lucknow was included in our schedule. So the city plays a major role in my career. But, the city has changed drastically: too much crowd and too little Nawabiyat.”

FAMILY LOVE

“I am a family man totally. If not acting, I love spending time with my children and grand-children. But at the same time, I let my children be and make their own choices and decisions. I don’t like talking about work to them. Shahid (his son) makes his own decisions and I’m proud of his work today especially with fact that he is not just a star but an actor too. His body of work is brilliant but my favourite remains ‘Haider’.”

On being asked about his favourite actor from new generation other than Shahid, the ‘Roja’ actor is quick to respond, “I just love Rajkumar Rao’s work, and his choice of films is remarkable. I do like watching him If I am home.”

SAVING A DYING HERITAGE

In his upcoming film ‘Sehar’, Kapur plays a teacher trying to save a fading language. Talking about his take on the subject, he said, “We, as a country, are so lucky to have such a diverse culture and so many languages but most of them are dying a slow death. I am not against modernisation but one can do his or her bit to save dying art or languages. Languages, for that matter, be it Urdu or Sanskrit, are losing their sheen. So, as an actor, I will try to do my bit to save it with whatever little I can. So, I took up this film ‘Sehar’ as it is all about the subject.”

In the past, Kapur has also done a film with the same name, “Yes! What a co-incidence! I did ‘Sehar’ way back in 2005 and it was totally a different subject, and now again, I am doing a film with the same name. And you will be surprised I also wrote a play named ‘Sehar’. Let me get a little philosophical with my association with the word and say, “Intezaar toh hamesha sehar ka hi rehta hai (Dawn – that which comes right after the darkest hour of the night – is always awaited).”

FIRST LOVE, ACTING

Three-time national award winner Kapur calls himself an acting addict. “I always loved acting and since childhood wanted to be an actor. Hence, I went to the National School of Drama to do away with all the obstacles and reach where I wanted to. Though, to tell you frankly, I like writing too, as it is creatively satisfying. But you can call me a temperamental writer because if I don’t have a strong urge, I will never sit to write. As a director, I want to direct without a struggle: that means I can’t run around big banners for work. See, I am ready to struggle even at this point of my career too but it should be completely justified. So you can say, I’m an actor who loves directing as well.”

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Wednesday, December 08, 2021