Pankaj Tripathi believes a doctor can save a dying man, but an artiste can do a lot more: heal a dying society by questioning the wrong and upholding the right.
The actor says an artist's work should never exist in vanity as while science makes life easier, arts give it a meaning.
"In life, we have two segments: arts and science. We need science to make our lives easier. But what do we live for? We enjoy life through arts. So it's an artist's duty to question the wrongs happening in the society.
"To make a satire out of it. To make people aware through their art forms — writing, painting, acting, etc" said Tripathi.
The reason for the emphasis on an artiste to do work which reflects current scenario is, Tripathi says, art has the power to make people better.
"If every individual starts listening to poetry, watch plays and see paintings, they'll become a better human. Art makes you a better human being and that reflects in society. Across the world, wherever good art has been created, that society has been in crisis." The actor says his choices of films — and more specifically his characters — always have a commentary to make.
"I am an aware citizen so I want my characters to be aware too. They should be aware of what's happening in the society and make a commentary. They're not in a la la land.
"Today we have films made on several topics. 'Stree' is an entertaining film but it has strong commentary about women. I make sure I say something important without being preachy through all my performances." The 42-year-old actor has been in the industry for nearly 15 years and has several critically-acclaimed performances to his credit.
To make sure an actor never loses his edge, Tripathi says it is of utmost importance for one to be aware about the surroundings.
"An actor must read a lot. Books not only make one a good actor, but also a better human being. Second, you must work on your senses. We don't realise but we are losing the sense of sound slowly. When was the last time you registered listening to a flowing river or a chirping bird? "We are losing the essence of touch. An actor has to work on his senses. You just have to be present for this, be aware. In life, we create. In cinema, actors recreate and for this, your mind and body need to be in sync."