Over the years, Shreyas Talpade may have become synonymous with multi-starrer comedies like Golmaal and Housefull but the actor feels that there’s much more to him as an actor that the industry is yet to explore. The actor, who earned critical acclaim for his terrific turn as a deaf and mute boy with a passion for cricket in Nagesh Kukunoor’s Iqbal, says that he craves for roles that can challenge his acting capabilities like the 2005 coming-of-age sports drama did.
“There’s much more to me and what I can do. After Iqbal, I got more involved in multi-starrers and comedies because 2006 onwards, this trend of multi-starrer comedies started happening. Golmaal Returns had worked at that point of time so we started doing back to back comedy films but personally I’m eagerly looking forward to a project or a film like Iqbaal which will challenge my potential and give me the kind of artistic satisfaction that I want," says Shreyas.
Shreyas, also a renowned artiste in the Marathi cinema, has made it a name for himself in Bollywood without any godfather or film connection but the actor had to experience a lot of biases because he did not have a famous surname.
“In cricket, scoring good runs is a parameter to know whether you’re a good batsman or a bad one, but unfortunately that is not the scenario in our industry. So, there have been certain things which haven’t really gone my way to a certain extent. But I think it’s my prerogative where I want to focus and what my priorities in life are."
Calling out the hypocrisy of Bollywood, Shreyas further says, “There are certain films of mine which bombed at the box office and there are certain films of certain actors which didn’t work but yet those actors keep getting work from big banners and you wonder how? My films bombed at the box office and certain people came and told me, ‘Yaar teri picture pit gayi toh agli picture ka price kum hoga.’ Then there are certain actors whose films bombed one after the other and yet you see them being signed by fantastic directors and you wonder why? This is the disparity which I don’t like. This is some kind of hypocrisy. Just say it in the face that you want that actor for something else and not for his performance. This is very unfair. You cannot have separate set of rules for certain people and separate rules for somebody else."
However, Shreyas believes OTT platforms have somewhat democratised the acting space with the industry slowly becoming a level playing field. “OTT is not about whether or not you come from a film family, it’s about how talented you are. Today, Prateek Gandhi (Scam 1992) and Jaideep Ahlawat (Paatal Lok) are bigger stars. All said and done. Phenomenal actors like Manoj Bajpayee and Kay Kay Menon are finally getting their due."
The actor is currently busy with his most ambitious project Nine Rasa, which is a streaming platform dedicated to different performing arts and theatre. The platform, which was launched on April 9, already has 100-plus hours of original content which is ready to go live in a phase-wise manner.
“People need to know what theatre actually is and what it does to a person’s personality and confidence. Moreover, the kind of shows that we do on stage are phenomenal stuff. So, I felt that why not have this platform and take Indian theatre worldwide. Indian theatre is so rich in itself with its various scripts and actors. When these actors perform on stage, you will feel the energy and that’s the best part about theatre. What we are trying to do is maintain the sanctity of theatre but since people are used to watching content in a particular manner on their phones or TVs we are treating it more like a film in post-production."