Actor Shishir Sharma, who played a national level coach in the popular biopic 'Mary Kom', will soon be seen in the prime time TV soap 'Shastri Sisters'. Even though he is playing a cameo in the show, he sounds upbeat about his role. In an interview with IBNLive.com, the actor spoke about the challenges male actors have to face on the small screen, his perspective on 'Bigg Boss' and shared his reaction to Gauahar Khan being slapped on the sets of a reality show.
You will soon be seen in 'Shastri Sisters'. Tell us something about your role. Was there a specific reason that made you accept the role?
It's a cameo. I play Karishma's father and a politician in 'Shastri Sisters'. After looking into aspects like marketing reviews and TRPs, the makers told me that it will be a two-month long cameo. And as far as the reason to accept the offer goes, the popular saying 'Beggars are not choosers' explains my decision. After the completion of my show 'Madhubala Ek Ishq Ek Junoon', I had decided not to do TV for some time. I wanted to focus only on movie offers that were coming my way. But as you know, for actors like us it is hard to get movies. So I decided to take up this offer.
You were recently seen in popular film 'Mary Kom'. What was the experience like working with director Omung Kumar and producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali?
Well, Sandjay Leela Bhansali was not always present on the sets. Omung Kumar, who directed the film, was wonderful. It was a great experience to work in the movie. 'Mary Kom' was significant as it was based on a living legend. It was a biopic and to be able to tell the story in an apt and convincing way was crucial. Since it was a story about a boxer, one gets to learn a lot about boxing and how it would feel to be a winner. And since I played the coach in the film, I had to go through all those feelings to give my best. The experience was truly memorable. Working with Priyanka Chopra was great. I had worked with her earlier in 'Love Story 2050' in 2008.
Daily soaps that we get to watch these days are almost the same - be it the climax, appearances, method of acting or any other aspect. Why do you think this happens?
TV serials are programmed in consonance with what the viewers want. A good show like '24' came to India and it didn't work. It had a niche audience, but it was not widely accepted. This happens because there is a huge demand for a certain type of shows. What can you do when you experiment, try to do something different and it does not work?
Why do TV shows focus only on women? Do you think it proves disadvantageous to male actors in terms of their professional growth?
This is one thing which hasn't changed, and it mostly depends on viewers' choices. TV is mostly watched by the female members of the house. So the focus is on them. Yes, serials have mostly been female centric and that does prove disadvantageous to male actors. Male characters are not given their due or place. This is also one of the reasons why I chose to do a cameo. It was different in my previous serial 'Yahaan Main Ghar Ghar Kheli', it had place for all characters. So I think it is a better option to do a cameo.
What do you think about reality shows? Have you been offered any, if yes, do you accept or reject them?
No. I don't think I will ever do those shows. I don't like reality shows. Since I can't dance, the possibility of taking up a dance show is ruled out. I think shows like 'Bigg Boss' should be banned. What do you get out of such shows? I can never understand. That is one show that should be taken off air.
TV host Gauahar Khan was slapped by a male viewer because he thought she wore a skimpy outfit. The incident goes on to explain that women aren't safe on the sets of TV shows. Your reaction to the incident...
I think, it was really childish of the man to slap Gauahar just because she was wearing something which he could not take. It was an awful thing to do. We live in a democratic nation and we have the freedom of speech, so why can't someone wear what he/she likes? Who was he to tell her anything at all? Whether it is what we wear and the way we dress up, it's an individual's conscious choice. If someone likes to wear small clothes, allow them. I have two daughters and I don't tell them what they should and should not wear. I can only advise them. The idea that crime against women happen because they wear small clothes is immaterial. I think it's only because of the dirty mind set and not any type of clothes.
What do you fear the most in life - deceit, loss of stardom, stagnation?
Stagnation. Yes, that's what I fear. Stardom just comes and goes; it's something that depends on your work.