Pankaj Jha, who played the conniving Vidhayak Ji in TVF’s Panchayat series, revealed in an interview with Digital Commentary how he was approached for Sultan Qureshi’s role in Gangs of Wasseypur and was the first choice before losing it to Pankaj Tripathi. Gangs of Wasseypur is considered among the best directorial endeavours of Anurag Kashyap, receiving praise from audience and critics alike. 

Anurag Kashyap replaced Pankaj Jha with Pankaj Tripathi in Gangs of Wasseypur.

‘Broke his promise’

Sultan Qureshi was a notable character in Gangs of Wasseypur. But the first choice for it was Pankaj Jha. However, later, Pankaj Tripathi was cast. Previously, Jha collaborated with Anurag Kashyap in Gulaal and Black Friday, but for Gangs of Wasseypur, this actor-director duo broke up. Further elaborating on this incident, the 47-year-old actor said he got the offer while he was on a shoot in Patna. He said he would come back within two days, and Kashyap promised him the role. But by the time he returned, Pankaj Tripathi was already cast as Sultan. 

The hosts asked Jha if the filmy politics hurt him. The Black Friday actor said he was unbothered by the politics happening behind his back and if he lets it hurt him, the ‘backstabbers’ would win. Again the hosts quizzed him if bagging Sultan’s character could have set his career trajectory differently since it helped Pankaj Tripathi to gain fame. But Jha said he was perfectly content and didn’t want to look back.

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‘Director-making actor’

Pankaj also called himself a ‘director-making actor.’ He said, “While films like Satya and Gulaal create actors, they also make directors. But there are so many timid and spineless people here that they can’t even keep their word.” Later, he added that now he held no resentment towards Anurag Kashyap. “Nevertheless, I still love Anurag very much and have no complaints against anyone.”

Pankaj Jha, an alum of the National School of Drama (NSD), rose to fame after playing the role of Vidhayak Chandrakishore Singh in the comedy series Panchayat. His first role was in Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding (2001). He also starred in Company (2002), Matrubhoomi (2003), Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (2003), and Anwar (2007).

Jha recently also accused Tripathi of glamorising his struggle and stealing ‘another actor’s slippers.’

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