Before heading to Mumbai years back, the 58-year-old pursued theatre in the capital.
"When I was doing theatre in Mumbai, actors won't come because they had television. For many years, I did theatre religiously and in Mumbai, I saw people disrespecting it and it hurt me very badly," Pankaj told IANS.
"I decided I will not do it until another opportunity comes my way and people respect this art called theatre," added the actor, who has even had a successful TV career with shows like "Karamchand", "Zabaan Sambhalke" and "Office Office".
The actor is now more into films, and has even turned director.
But asked to give some tips to aspiring theatre artists, he said: "Every actor must go through the process of learning and not just be in a hurry to become famous. They should learn to live in small amounts and not to try and copy others."
"If you continue working hard and be honest towards your work, then success will come. Persistence in terms of acquiring finesse in one's work is what is that is required."
Pankaj's latest film release was Vishal Bhardwaj's "Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola", which hit the screens Jan 11.