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'I try to protect the childlike innocence of my characters'

I try to protect the childlike innocence of my characters
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New Delhi: Actor Pankaj Tripathi, a scene-stealer in any film or series he does, says he often aims to keep the innocence of his characters alive.

In 'Mimi', the story of the titular surrogate mother played by Kriti Sanon, sees Tripathi essay the character of Bhanu, whose funny one-liners in the film's trailer had garnered much praise.

Directed by Laxman Utekar, the film, originally slated to release on July 30, arrived on Netflix and Jio Cinema on Monday night.

While filmmaking is a "team sport", the National School of Drama graduate said as the face of the actor is visible, they end up getting the most credit for the film.

"But yes, I tend to do some improvisations or a few additions here and there that sometimes comes out nicely. We get a lot of freedom to add our own flavour, which is something I do with sincerity. It feels good when your instincts are trusted as an artiste," Tripathi said in an interview.

His character of Bhanu, the 44-year-old said, is primarily a driver but is a multi-tasker.

"He is the jack of all trades, jugaadu aadmi hai (he is a makeshifter)," he added.

His character is the catalyst, which connects Mimi, an aspiring actor from a Rajasthan small town, with a foreign couple who want her to bear their child.

Citing the example of a scene from the film's trailer where a sceptical Mimi asks the doctor (Jaya Bhattacharya) if the surrogacy will spoil her figure, Bhanu chirpily says, "No!", eliciting a question from the protagonist.

"Have you done it before?" Mimi asks Bhanu, to which he sheepishly says another "No".

Tripathi said the scene turned out to be funnier as Sanon also took part in the improv process.

"There are two no's but both have different meanings," he added.

The actor, who hails from Bihar, said such tweaks here and there keep things interesting.

"That's how children are. Children often do things like this to try to get out of a sticky situation when they are caught. I try to protect the childlike innocence of my characters. It doesn't let things become dry (neeras)."

A fan of satire, Tripathi said "Mimi" is a situational comedy that somewhere also makes use of sarcasm to drive home the larger message.

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