His repertoire is as eclectic as it is robust, making one wonder what Pankaj Tripathi seeks in a script. The actor says he has a simple ask from every project — he is merely looking for “good company”. Once that is met, he can be lured in by his character. `Mimi`, led by Kriti Sanon, was one of those films that ticked both boxes. “In this film, Laxman Utekar [director] was the [driving] factor. We bonded over our similar backgrounds; he comes from rural Maharashtra, and I, from Bihar. Kriti was another draw. Bareilly Ki Barfi  was the start of a different vein of films for her. She has matured vastly as an actor since,” begins Tripathi.
The comedy sees Sanon as a small-town dancer who agrees to become a surrogate mother for a couple, but the journey isn’t without hilarious twists. Quiz him if the small-town sub-genre has been over-exploited, and Tripathi disagrees with the generalisation. “How can a film be gauged by its landscape? The story matters more than the milieu. Small-town stories aren’t a formula. If [a maker] feels that setting a story in an old house with a loud dadi and chachis will sell a film, that won’t happen. Today, the audience will reject bad stories.”
The film marks Tripathi and Sanon’s reunion after Bareilly Ki Barfi
The trailer of the Jio Cinema offering was lapped up by the audience, with a fan cheekily tweeting, ‘Someone check on Pankaj Tripathi. He must be tired of shouldering the weight of so many films.’ The statement may not be too far from the truth — the actor has often elevated films by his able performances. “I take pride in being a dependable actor. I am flattered. But doing eight films a year and shooting for 350 days had drained me. The lockdown made me realise the need for weekly offs and my own inability to perform consistently for 30 days a month. I want my makers and the audience to trust me, and for that to continue, I have to be consistent.”