Actor Pankaj Tripathi is arguably in the best phase of his career: he is not only swamped with work but continues to garner applause for his every outing, regardless of the format.
But the actor, a scene stealer in any film or web series he does, is a little concerned about "disappointing" his fans if his work is not up to the mark, someday.
"I remember 10 days ago I met a group of people at the airport who were from the South and Bengal and they said when they see a shot of mine in a trailer, they feel they want to see the film as I will do something for sure.
"There is a sense of responsibility too (and also) that the day I mess up a little, people might be disappointed. I am also a human being. I do feel a little worried sometimes. It is not necessary that whatever I do will be great. It might be average but then people say that my average will be fine too," Tripathi told PTI in an interview.
The 45-year-old actor said he tries to concentrate on doing his job and believes in giving his 100 per cent to every role.
"I try to maintain a balance of entertainment and sensitivity, I make sure the purpose is not missed."
After years of struggle, Tripathi has been working round-the-clock and said he wishes to slow down a bit after honouring his prior commitments.
"This has not happened overnight, it has taken a lot of time to be here. I am 45-years-old today and at this age the success won't get to my head because you know and understand life. So, my perspective is a little different.
"I feel I need to slow down now and I will, after finishing my prior commitments. I have pre-COVID-19 commitments which will take six months or so. I will after that (slow down) a little bit because I need (to look at) physical health,” he added.
With fewer breaks in between Tripathi visits his family in Bihar's Gopalganj district less often now. But the actor, a graduate from the National School of Drama (NSD), shared that during his time at home around 600 people queue up to take selfies and he happily obliges them.
"They all love me and come this far to my house to see me and I don't want to upset them. Although, I do get a bit tired, smiling all the time but I don't get irritated soon,” he said.
Back in Mumbai at his sea-facing apartment in Madh Island, Tripathi prefers to stay away from the limelight and finds peace in being close to nature.
"When I am at home, the phone is off. Today, I am not worried about missing a phone call, earlier I was. For three years or so the phone is on silent mode as I have prior commitments so I want to finish that first.
"Besides, I also read books of contemporary Hindi writers like Satya Vyas, Nilotpal Mrinal and others and some who write on nature, environment and farming. I also read political columns in the newspaper," he said.
Currently, he is busy promoting his next film “Bunty Aur Babli 2”, backed by Yash Raj Films. The film is a sequel to the 2005 Shaad Ali-directed blockbuster, which featured Rani Mukerji and Abhishek Bachchan as the titular characters.
While Mukerji is returning as the original Babli, the sequel stars Saif Ali Khan who steps in for Bachchan's Bunty, with Siddhant Chaturvedi and debutante Sharvari who are the new age con-couple, also called Bunty and Babli, respectively.
Recalling watching "Bunty Aur Babli" in a Patna theatre upon its release 16 years ago, Tripathi said he thoroughly enjoyed the original, which he said had a beautiful storyline and music.
In “Bunty Aur Babli 2”, the actor will be seen as Jatayu Singh, a shrewd cop, who pits the two pairs of con artists Bunty and Babli against each other.
“In the film, the new Bunty Aur Babli are tech savvy. The old con couple had an old world set-up. In this new digital age, to earn quick money some people unfortunately get trapped. It is the right time to come up with a film like this,” he said.
Like any other common man, Tripathi said he too was conned years ago over car insurance after a man, who claimed to be an agent took money from him. It was a few months later that the actor learnt it was a fraud, he added.
“When I contacted the company to check on the policy, they denied having it. After this I made sure to make only cheque payment. It was a small amount of Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 but the incident made me aware,” he said.
The movie, directed by Varun V Sharma, is set to be released in theatres worldwide on November 19.
Tripathi will next be seen in Kabir Khan's much anticipated cricket drama "83". He is also working in films like "Bachchan Pandey", "Oh My God! 2" and will reprise his role of lawyer Madhav Mishra in Hotstar web series "Criminal Justice".