Aftab Shivdasani: Discussion around issues in Bollywood was required but that shouldn’t happen under the garb of personal vendetta

As strong talks around nepotism and favouritism in Bollywood continue to brew, many industry insiders have been vocal about their experiences. As an outsiders, actor Aftab Shivdasani says he too faced the music but managed to be at the periphery of things to survive this long.

“I tried staying at the edges, meaning I never got into a rut. Such biases exist everywhere. Because Bollywood is the glamour industry it’s just becomes the talking point. I’ve faced many things but chose not to talk about it because I never focused on negatives,” he adds.

But how easy or difficult is it to be at the periphery yet get the kind of work one wants to do we ask. “Staying at the periphery doesn’t mean you’re out and reverse psychology, staying inside doesn’t mean you’ll get all the work. Being best friends with the biggest producers also doesn’t mean I’ll get cast in all the films… By periphery I meant I stayed away from politicising every issue, controversial situations, and worked with those who preferred working with peaceful people,” he says.

 

Shivdasani agrees his outlook brought more hurdles, he lost out on work and faced the brunt too when his films failed.

“In between 2000 and 2010 when I did maximum work, I collaborated with good producers, directors, stars and star kids. But when some of my films failed then many started dropping me from their projects. At that point of time there was this herd mentality ki iski picture nahi chali isko dobara mata lo. They didn’t think he’s a good guy and a good actor let’s work with him again. Thankfully with web entering the arena things have been better,” says the actor, who’s all set to make his debut with Poison 2.

Had he been a star kid or had relatives in the industry things would have been better, according to the 42-year-old.

“I might’ve got more offers, wish I knew someone. But good or bad, I hung in there. As I always say audience decides your journey. Had there been no support from them I wouldn’t have survived. There acceptance matters, rest of it is debatable,” he adds.

The actor is hopeful these discussions would bring about a change, but is against things getting “sensationalised” and the “agenda-driven conversations”.

“I’m an optimist and would like to see the glass half full. This industry has given us a lot and has much more to offer. At the same time, such talks would definitely lead to a better work atmosphere. We can debate on certain things but that shouldn’t happen under the garb of personal vendetta. Don’t forget this industry has entertained you for decades, suddenly you can’t write it off,” he ends.

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Author tweets @Shreya_MJ



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