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Pankaj Tripathi turns to Malayalam cinema for help with his prep for Shakeela biopic

The Masaan (2012) actor has resorted to watching Malayalam films to get the language right for his character in the upcoming biopic starring Richa Chadha.

Shriram Iyengar

Pankaj Tripathi's dedication to character delineation is something that stands out, particularly in his recent films.

The actor, who shared screen space with superstar Rajinikanth in Kaala (2018), is set to try another South Indian language, Malayalam, for his character in the upcoming biopic on the actress Shakeela.

Directed by Indrajit Lankesh, the film will feature actress Richa Chadha as the yesteryear star of B-grade Malayalam cinema. 

Tripathi plays a South Indian actor who was a close friend of the actress in her time of need. To prepare for his character, the Stree (2018) actor has returned to his favourite pastime of watching films.

Tripathi revealed that the films are helping him to get his enunciation of words in the language right. The biopic will see the veteran speak some Malayalam, and speak Hindi with a Malayalam-tinged accent. 

"I have watched the original Malayalam film which inspired Billu (2009) and many other films in parts, not entirely," Tripathi said. "I love Malayalam films. They make them so beautifully. Their storytelling skills are brilliant.

"This role is new to me; I have never done something like this before. I always try that I don’t copy or caricature. So it’s an original portrayal and I will mould it according to the feedback I receive from the director and the writer," the National award-winning actor said. 

Describing his character, he said, "Of course, I will say it’s a very colourful role. There is a particular type of body language, a hierarchy to it, a kind of status play as well. So, let's see. I hope the audience likes it as they have liked my other performances so far." 

Tripathi is also part of Sanjoy Nag's Yours Truly, which is travelling to the Busan International Film Festival. He will also be seen in Bhaiaji Superhit (2018), directed by Neerraj Pathak.