Veteran actor, Pankaj Berry, who is doing the important character of Tathacharya in the SAB TV show Tenali Rama (Contiloe), feels a bit sad that few generation-next actors don’t take the acting craft seriously. “They feel it is good enough to just mouth their dialogues, and yes, look good.”
“For me, acting is very serious business. I only came to Mumbai from my native Haryana after properly studying the discipline (post-graduation in Indian Theatre). It would be very good if fresh blood first honed their skills via noted institutes and theaters. Agreed, acting can be taught, but you will be equipped with several skills, which will hold you in good stead, years down the road.”
Although Berry has been acting in films and TV since 1987 (Gul Gulshan Gulfam), he has not done too much comedy before. On this, he says, “Well, yes, but I have always believed that good actors should excel in all genres. Agreed, I have mostly done negative characters, but with a few positive roles thrown into the mix as well.”
“Prior to this, I have only done two long-running comic characters. First was Zameen-Aasmaan, way back in 1995; then came Jugni Chali Jalandhar, for the same channel. In a way, my current show has broken the myth that Pankaj Berry can’t make you laugh. I believe that the right way to comedy is by being spontaneous. I am not a big fan of the planned comedy phase, where every dig is pre-decided. I’d rather go with the flow. Also, what separates Tenali Rama from the others in the comic crowd is that our jokes are situational. So they don’t appear forced. Natural free flowing comedy always works.”
“One of the main reasons for saying yes to this character was that he has lots of variations, be it comedy, good, and bad, all rolled into one,” the seasoned actor adds.
Like most of his fellow senior actors, Pankaj also misses the golden days of TV. “Back then, we had great shows like Buniyaad, Swabhiman and Zaban Sambhal Ke. For a while, we had indeed lost our way, courtesy kitchen politics. But slowly, message-driven shows like Tenali Rama are making a comeback.”
His recent projects have included Peshwa Bajirao, Gangaa and Waaris.
Continue to shine!!