Actor Ishtiyak Khan, who has played pivotal roles in films like Tamasha, Fas Gaye Re Obama, Yudh, Anarkali of Aarah and most recently in Ludo, talks about the increasing prominence of character artists in films and the reason behind it.
Ishtiyak said, “In Bollywood, the first thing looked into an actor is appearance and age. So, 90% casting is done like this and in the remaining 10%, they look for an actor. That 10% is your hard work.”
He added, “I did not struggle in this industry because I was an outsider. There are many of my students who got work the very next day they came to Mumbai, and got better work than me. Whereas I have seen children of the stars not getting work. So, the struggle is not because you are an outsider, parameters of struggle can be different. For instance, my struggle was to find a house, pay rent. But if the person is from Mumbai he won’t face these struggles.”
He further added, “Character artists are now coming as main characters. They are getting commercial recognition. It is like, if there is Pankaj Tripathi, Sanjay Mishra, there must be something in this movie. Earlier, we were mere decoration, now we are considered as pillars. Audience now understands that it is about story and not just hero, and the characters who are carrying this story. Also, OTT platform has given actors like us a new life. But still, in Netflix release Ludo, my name was not mentioned in star cast, even though I am playing an important character. I hope this too will go away.”
Having worked with both Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishekh Bachchan, Ishtiyak said, “Bachchan sir (Amitabh) does a lot of rehearsal, so much that he gets into the character. He still works like a child, it looks like it is his first project. On the other hand, Abhishek is a little easy-going in comparison to Bachchan sir. But yes, he is very open to suggestions from his co-stars.”
He also shared what he looks for in a role. “I look at the character’s journey. How important is this character and if it is helping the story. Also, what new I can do with every role.”
Meanwhile, Ishtiyak has projects like Amit Sharma’s Maidaan and Suman Gosh’s Aadhaar in pipeline.