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5 Roles That Show Pankaj Kapur’s Understated Brilliance

He’s the man who could make a line like “Shut up Kitty!” go viral.

Updated
Celebrities
2 min read
Mira Rajput, Pankaj Kapur and Shahid Kapoor.
i

We all know that Pankaj Kapur is Shahid Kapoor’s dad, but we also know that Pankaj Kapur is ‘acting ka baap’. The 66-year-old has the ability to simply hypnotise his audience once he makes an appearance on screen or the stage. A graduate from the National School of Drama in Delhi, Kapur entered the world of cinema via Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, and what a spectacular innings it has been.

Here’s a look at Pankaj Kapur’s 5 best roles over the years:

1. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro

Kundan Shah’s Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro is a cult classic today and one of the faces that stands out in the film’s ensemble is that of Pankaj Kapur as Tarneja, the corrupt builder. His deadpan dialogue delivery and subtle performance in an otherwise over-the-top madcap satire stood out.

2. Ek Doctor Ki Maut

Tapan Sinha’s Ek Doctor Ki Maut won Pankaj Kapur the Special Jury Award at the National Awards in 1990. Kapur effectively brings alive the pain and trials of Dr Dipankar Roy, a genius who discovers a vaccine for leprosy, but the jealousy and insecurity of his peers and the system almost kill his spirit that aims to serve humanity.

3. Karamchand

Pankaj Kapur made the carrot-munching private detective Karamchand a rage during the early days of Doordarshan in the 1980s. Karamchand’s signature line “Shut up Kitty,” to his assistant Kitty (Sushmita Mukherjee) went viral at a time when virality was yet to be discovered. Karamchand as a series was revived in 2009 on Sony TV but it ran out of steam after a few episodes.

4. Office Office

Just like Wagle Ki Duniya represented the common man through Anjan Srivastava in the late 80s, Mussadi Lal was the common man brought to life by Pankaj Kapur in the popular TV series Office Office which aired on SAB TV in 2001. Office Office brought memories of the kind of shows that the masses enjoyed during Doordarshan’s glorious days. Office Office and Pankaj Kapur’s fine performance as Mussadi Lal even inspired the film Chala Mussadi... Office Office ten years later.

5. Maqbool

Pankaj Kapur as the menacing underworld don Abbaji steals the show away from Irrfan Khan who plays the title role of Maqbool, Vishal Bhardwaj’s stunning adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. As you can see in this clip, you don’t mess with Abbaji.

Happy Birthday Pankaj Kapur! Stay awesome.

(This story is from The Quint’s archives and has been reposted to mark Pankaj Kapur’s birthday)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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