An old interview of veteran actor Sharat Saxena wherein he had spoken about being ignored and typecast in the Bollywood industry for 30 years because of his fitness has resurfaced online. In his emotional interview to CINTAA (Cine & TV Artists Association) in 2018, Sharat had said that no director ever considered him as an actor. Because of his physique, he was always given the roles of a fighter or junior artist roles.
“Back in those days, in our whole country, whoever had muscles or someone who looked like a body builder, that person was put under ‘labour class’. He was not considered worthy of fine arts, finer feelings. He could not be an actor, a writer or anything. He could only be a fighter,” Sharat said in the interview.
He further added, “Unfortunately, when I came to Mumbai, I was quite fit. My father used to be an athlete in Allahabad University. We got inspired by him and worked out. When Bombay’s producers or directors used to look at me, they never saw an actor but only a fighter or a junior artist. So for 30 years, I only did action. When it came to acting, I was given dialogues such as ‘Yes boss, no boss, very sorry boss, maaf kar dijiye boss (please forgive me boss)’.”
Sharat Saxena talking about being pigeonholed as an action sidekick for 30 years. 30 years.
Breaks my heart. pic.twitter.com/srRtDVrXE1
— Love of Cinema (@loveofcinemasf8) January 1, 2021
Being an engineer, Sharat wanted to pursue acting and has worked in hundreds of films as villain’s sidekick during the early years of his career. He is known for his roles in Ghulam, Mr. India, Kaala Patthar and others. After being ignored for 30 years, Sharat was finally recognised for his work when he played the role of a heroine’s father in Saathiya. And it was director Shaad Ali who gave him the role in the film.
“There is a director called Shaad Ali. He gave me the father or the heroine’s role in Saathiya. The film released and the role was very small but people really liked it. After that role, I was finally classified from fighter to actor. It took 30 years for that to happen,” he said.
Revealing the bitter truth of the industry and how it typecasts and judges actors by their looks, Sharat said, “This is country of Lord Ram worshippers. The hero’s face should be a reflection of Lord Ram and one should see Ravana in villain’s face. In India, the concept was that Lord Rama was fair with straight hair and he was handsome. And me being a poor guy from Madhya Pradesh, there are no such men in my state. You find people like me there. So they made people like me a villain.”
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