Pankaj Tripathi was born in the village of Belsand, near Gopalganj, Bihar. His village still does not have television, and the nearest theatre is 25 kilometres (16 mi) away. His parents are farmers. He did theatre in his college days in Patna for close to four years before joining the National School of Drama in Delhi
Pankaj Tripathi appeared in some of Bollywood movies including 'Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1'(2012), 'Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 2' (2012), and 'Agneepath' (2012).
He also appeared in films like 'Omkara' (2006), 'Chillar Party' (2011), 'ABCD- Any Body Can Dance' (2013), 'Gunday' (2014), 'Manjhi: The Mountain Man' (2015), 'Masaan' (2015) and 'Dilwale' (2015).