Pathak was born in Bhojpur district, Bihar, India. He attended the boarding school Vikas Vidyalaya, Ranchi until 1982. After graduating from Allahabad University he moved to United States for higher studies. Perhaps chief among his mentors in his BFA program Stony Brook University was Farley Richmond, who also urged him to return to India and Hindi theater and film in 1995.While studying at State University of New York at Stony Brook Pathak had many acting roles, notably in the comedies Khosla Ka Ghosla and Bheja Fry. In 1999, he played the role of Vinny in the television series Hip Hip Hurray. He also produced the film Dasvidaniya, which told the story of a common man bidding farewell before dying.
Along with good friend Ranvir Shorey, he anchored the show OYE. Together they hosted the talk show Ranvir Vinay Aur Kaun?., as well as House Arrest, Duniya Goal Hain and Cricket Crazy. He also teamed up with his friends Ranvir, Suresh Menon, and Gaurav Gera to be a part of a gag-based show The Great Indian Comedy Show.
Pathak starred in a minor role as Inspector Gurpal Badash in a made-for-TV movie Murder Unveiled (2005), featuring the Sikh community in Canada.
Pathak acted in the movies Johnny Gaddaar, Aaja Nachle , Khoya Khoya Chand and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.
His next film produced by Pritish Nandy Communications Raat Gayi Baat Gayi, was released in India in December 2009.
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