My first memory of Pankaj Kapur is a bank haunting his existence as he chronicled for years to get his work done. I made it sound like some dark film, but it is the ever so amazing Office Office. Growing up and still being a fan of the show, one thing I asked myself is what about this man playing a character as vulnerable as you and me in a bank, makes him a powerhouse? And the answer was in that question itself. Vulnerability.
Pankaj Kapur wasn’t a stereotypical face who could stretch his arms and a heroine dolled up in the sharpest of the wing liner would run in his arms. He understood that fact and made characters for him that were something a leading man in Hindi cinema did not represent then. Take Main Zinda Hoon for instance, experience his magic. A three-time national award winner, the actor has not only made a mark on the big screen but on Television too. Assemble Zabaan Sambhal Ke fans!
So as the star who made his entry to the world of films with Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, turns a year older, we celebrate him with the amazing performances he is known for.
EK DOCTOR KI MAUT
Every time you tell me to talk about Pankaj Kapur, I will begin with Ek Doctor Ki Maut. Playing a struggling scientist Dr Dipankar Roy opposite Shabana Azmi, Kapur gave the best performance of his early stage in this film. Also, this one brought him a National Award too.
Who could have thought the coil Musaddi from Office Office would be Vishal Bharadwaj’s Abba Ji? A man who rules his world, while his female fatal Tabu sits besides his throne. It only takes a Maqbool for his kingdom to crash, and this is the most cathartic retelling of Macbeth in Indian cinema. Malayalam film Joji has joined the league too.
TOBA TEK SINGH
A Manto short story, that too Toba Tek Singh, Pankaj Kapur playing the lead. Can there he another amazing combination than this one. Playing a man separated from his roots, and his constant struggle to find them, Toba Tek Singh is the most shattering partition stories you will ever come across.
THE BLUE UMBRELLA
Unpopular opinion, but The Blue Umbrella has the cutest version of Pankaj Kapur Ever. It’s the Ruskin Bond universe fuelled by Vishal Bharadwaj. Pankaj plays a shopkeeper obsessed with a girl’s blue umbrella and wants it. I would suggest you must watch this to relax and indulge in the goodness of it all.
The most underrated Pankaj Kapur film ever. So underrated that it is available on YouTube for free and still has only 1.7 Million views. Playing a patriarch who is obsessed with purity. One day when an orphan is brought his home he is resistant in even touching him. But sooner he forms a bond with the child, and the journey to it is divine.