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When Pankaj Tripathi was insulted for his English speaking skills

When Pankaj Tripathi was a member of the panel consisting of Rahul Bose, Nila Madhab Panda, Divya Dutta, Rajshri Deshpande and moderator Aseem Bajaj. An incident occurred between an audience member who made an unsavoury remark about the actor.


An audience member at IFFI had remarked about how the actor (Pankaj Tripathi) can wear jeans but can’t speak English.


Pankaj Tripathi then relied saying: ‘You said one thing to me, that I wear jeans but don’t know English. I want to say, Jis umar mein hum bhaasha seekte hain, us umar mein mere paas jeans pehenne ka privilege nahi tha’.


After around half an hour after that discussion took place, another audience member urged everyone on the panel to speak in English as it was an ‘international conference’.


Pankaj replied saying ‘Uska kya jisko English nahi aati’.


Another audience member said ‘You are known by Hindi films, please talk in Hindi’


Then the audience member who had previously taken the dig at Pankaj replied saying ‘No, no no’.


Then the moderator Aseem Bajaj said ‘Do you understand Hindi?’ To the same audience member.


He replied saying ‘Not so well’.


Another audience member stood up and said ‘I am from Korea, please speak in English.’


Aseem (the moderated of the discussion) then said ‘Let’s keep it easy. We will talk in English’.


Pankaj replied saying ‘If I say in Hindi, please translate it for those who can’t understand’.


Pankaj then also said ‘Sir kya karun main… I am unable to talk or speak in English’.


But he continued to speak in English saying: ‘I am sitting here to tell you about ‘redefining stories’ to tell my stories… That in itself is redefining — that I am sitting here, and you’re listening to the stories’.


He then said: “There’s not much to say. ‘Aap gaur se meri aankhon mein dekhenge na, toh saari kahaani maloom padh jaayegi. Main itna hi filmy hun”.


Translating in English, he said: ‘Gaur se (Closely) look into my eyes and you will know the story’.


Tbh the remark the audience member made was clearly an insult towards the actor, but the actor replied amazingly to the situation, keeping calm with a smile as always. But no matter how Pankaj responded, this highlight the issue of how English is still seen as a superior language in our country or a status symbol almost, which is problematic. English isn’t any superior of a language, so we should stop treating it as one. Live and let live.


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