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Stopped Worrying About Stereotypes Long Time Back, Say Bollywood's Forever Fathers

Stopped Worrying About Stereotypes Long Time Back, Say Bollywood's Forever Fathers

Actors Shishir Sharma, Virendra Saxena, and Satyajit Sharma tell us how they feel playing parental figures repeatedly on screen.

While cinema is ruled by the chemistry of the lead pair or the compelling story of a protagonist, it is also the other characters that make the story relatable and believable. Be it the actor's strict dad or the cool uncle, Bollywood has given us various parental characters to hang on to.

Some of those father figures have played memorable roles on screen. However, do these actors feel bracketed into a certain type, being repeatedly cast in the dad's role? We got in touch with a few to find out their opinion on the same.

Actor Shishir Sharma is known to have worked in dozens of plays, shows, movies and now web shows. His latest roles have been majorly restricted to being a father. Ask him if it bothers being stuck to the same role, and he says, "I think it's really because of my persona about which I can't do much. I am not too concerned about being put in a box or as they say, being stereotyped. Even if you're playing a father, in two separate shows you're going to be different characters. The director is not going to let you play similar characters, and no two roles are the same. It's about being truthful about what you are doing at that particular time."

Giving examples of his roles in his web shows he said, "I have done father's roles in What The Folks and Girlfriend Chor but both are very different fathers on very different platforms. I have no aspirations to play the hero and I am very content with what roles I have done. I do not want to go against my personality," he added.

Actor Satyajit Sharma, known for his roles in TV shows like Balika Vadhu, Kitani Mohabbat Hai, Dil Toh Happy Hai Ji, or the web show Made In Heaven, says one does what comes their way since choosing to do a specific role is not in one's hand.

He said, "People do make decisions based on the roles they get, but for practical purposes, you take the mix that is offered and hope that it will work out. Within the certain realm of reasonableness, the audience will accept you for what you've done to the role that has been offered."

Ask if he feels the audience will tend to typecast him as a parental figure, he said, "The audience reacts to a good story, good writing, and good characters. A stereotype is not constructed by the audience but by people in the business. The inherent logic would also mean somebody who plays a hero should also get bored of playing it. The same can be extended to anyone working in this business. You can only look forward and hope something good comes your way. But the wishful thinking should not paralyze you. I stopped worrying about these things a long time back."

Actor Virendra Saxena is of the same opinion and says stereotype is done by the industry. "We have to remember the age group we are in, we won't fit in the role of every artist. A box is always there, but you have to accept the type of role you get," he said.

At the same time, Virendra says the onus is on the character actor, to grab the opportunity and narrate his story too, even if not in the lead. "Like my role in Sonu Ke Teetu Ki Sweety, it helped me break the mold of being typecast. And that is how I choose projects now; picking two most interesting out of the five I am offered."

Virendra, who is a well-known actor and theatre personality, also talked about the difference between the earlier cinema and the changes in it now.

"Earlier, a story used to have space or even parental figures for the story to move forward. They used to play a contributory role. Now, it's mainly a boy who meets a girl, and the parents have only become tools."

As per him, more thoughtful writing for other characters is the need of the hour. Giving an example of characters from the movie Sholay, he explained, "We still remember the characters like Samba or Kalia from Sholay, even though their duration was four minutes. The credits go to the writers who thought about it and the director who understood the requirement. This makes the plot more substantial. But writers who think that way are way too less now. Cinema should not be entirely for the younger generation. A little more roles for the other characters is required. Our cinema needs to grow wider, with more complete characters."

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