Posted by Fenil Seta
National Award winner Rohini Hattangadi, among others, on lack of work for actresses of a certain age
Avinash Lohana (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 8, 2017)
Fifty eight-year-old National Award-winning actress Neena Gupta, last seen in the Bipasha Basu and Karan Singh Grover horror-drama Alone in 2015, recently posted on Instagram, “I live in Mumbai and working am a good actor looking for good parts to play.” While social media users lauded the actress for her candour and courage and rightfully so, Mirror reached out to her seniors, contemporaries and predecessors to learn some ground realities:
Rohini Hattangadi (66)
Last seen in: Sarkar 3 (2017)
I’m not getting good roles in Hindi films. Even earlier, when I was playing the mother, only one out of 10 characters was interesting. I’ve never accepted roles just to fill my day, but in a commercial space, you can’t get too choosy. Out of sight is out of work. Ramu (Ram Gopal Varma) with whom I’d done Raat, and one scene in Shiva, suddenly called me out of the blue to offer Sarkar 3. Film roles are few and far between.
Recently, in the guise of a look test, they wanted me to do an audition for a TV show. I walked out. Earlier, we had secretaries to shop for good roles. Now, you have casting agents. When they call, I insist that the producer get in touch. We’re not the only ones losing out on work, they are also losing out on talent. Thank God I have my Marathi and Gujarati plays, along with Tamil and Telugu films.
Himani Shivpuri (56)
Last seen in: Wedding Pullav (2015)
They are giving good roles to Sridevi because she was a heroine but character artistes like Neena Gupta and I, who are from National School of Drama and have been around the film industry for years, are hungry for good roles. Television is no longer interesting after the advent of the daily soaps but I’m forced to take up such offers as I’m a workaholic.
I entered Bollywood in the ’90s and had no illusions about playing the lead. While filming Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge I lost my husband and had to bring up my son alone. Fortunately, I’d made a niche for myself with films like Hero No 1 and Biwi No 1 so we survived. But suddenly, the roles started to dry up but I haven’t lost hope. Meryl Streep is still working and Jessica Tandy bagged an Oscar at 80, so why should Himani Shivpuri despair? Maybe the digital platform will offer me work now.
Sulbha Arya (70+)
Last seen in: Ventilator (2016)
I’ve never been competitive. Today I’m over 70 and with so many young actors willing to play old characters, it’s got tougher. I pick up roles that don’t require too many days of work. I joke with youngsters that while they sit at home, I get to play the dadi or the nani even if the footage is short.
Archana Puran Singh (54)
Last seen in: Dolly Ki Doli (2015)
It takes b***s of steel to do what Neena did and shows that when it comes to work, an artiste is always greedy and bold. There aren’t too many roles for middle-aged and elderly actresses. During the Dolly Ki Doli promotions, I was told that I am going be flooded with roles after the release but I had told the person interviewing me that not a single role will come my way. I’ve recently finished a film and am also doing another comedy show… The hunger for good work remains is still to be sated though.
Renuka Shahane (50)
Last seen in: Highway Ek Selfie Aarpar (2015)
After you’ve done excellent work, you look forward to satisfying projects but that’s not happening on TV. I haven’t done many Hindi films anyway but I am open to something different. I’m getting offers but I have young children and have to keep their requirements in mind. It was okay to have a personal life before. Today, profession overshadows everything. When my kids grow up and start college, I will be free. Then, maybe in my quest for good work I too will put up an Instagram post like Neenaji who once had ruled TV.
Aruna Irani (70)
Last seen in: TV soap SauBhagyalaxmi (2016)
Yes, there is a dearth of good roles in films and that’s because they are not being written. I’m selective about the work I do. Fortunately, I’m getting good roles in television and I am happy with them.
This entry was posted on October 4, 2009 at 12:14 pm, and is filed under Archana Puran Singh, Aruna Irani, Bollywood News, Himani Shivpuri, Neena Gupta, Renuka Shahane, Rohini Hattangadi, Sulbha Arya . Follow any responses to this post through RSS. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.