Actor Pankaj Tripathi says he was on the lookout for something exciting when actor-director Satish Kaushik offered him Kaagaz, a film which he instantly fell in love with. The film is based on the life of Bharat Lal aka Lal Bihari from Azamgarh, who fought a legal battle for 18 years to prove that he is alive.
During a virtual press conference at the trailer launch of Kaagaz, Pankaj Tripathi said he was drawn to the world of Lal and it didn’t take him much time to understand his bizarre battle. ‘The moment he (Satish Kaushik) narrated me the story, I was on board. I told him I’m ready with my dates, just let me know when should I come. As an actor, you’re on the lookout for scripts which make you feel like, ‘I deserve this story.’ I felt like that with Kaagaz. I grabbed the film before he could change his mind,’ Pankaj Tripathi told reporters.
Bharat, played by Pankaj, is desperate to be proven alive. He has a family, hopes and dreams for his future but his official dead status is not letting him realise any of it. He tries all he can to claim what is rightfully his. He asks the village sarpanch to sign the required documents, files a case in court and even renames himself as Bharat Lal Mritak (deceased) to get the country and the media’s attention. He even forms an alliance with all those who have been wrongly termed dead due to silly clerical errors.
Satish also plays an acting role in the film as Bharat’s lawyer. While the latter places a lot of trust in him, he may just not be as smart as he is pretending to be.
Like Lal, who ran from pillar to post to contest official papers which declared him dead, the 44-year-old actor has had his share of struggle to get noticed in the industry which had largely overlooked him. Pankaj Tripathi struggled for almost a decade before getting a breakthrough in Gangs Of Wasseypur in 2012 and has since emerged as one of the most talked about stars, with winning performances in films and shows like Stree, Mirzapur, Sacred Games and Ludo.
‘I had to struggle a lot, which is part of the job. Till the time an actor’s identity isn’t established, he’s lost. Many people come to Mumbai with the dream of becoming an actor. Till they don’t establish an identity, they keep at it. So there’s a fight to make an identity even in cinema. The story of Kaagaz has a similar battle, that of existence. My struggle has been long but organic and fruitful. I’ve learnt how to live because of it,’ he added.
The film has been produced by Salman Khan Films and will be out on Zee5 on January 7.