Transition from TV to Bollywood is no mean feat as the TV actor tag is still considered a baggage. While many actors have expressed discontent against the biases they faced during film auditions, some have even revealed their experiences of not being allowed to audition for big ticket productions.
“There is a barricade that dividing TV actors from film actors. I’ve been told during film auditions that they don’t want TV actors, that TV actors only know a certain kind of acting, etc. It also happens that sometimes our audition tapes don’t reach the producer or director because people at the casting level don’t find TV actors suitable,” says Ridhiema Tiwari, known for her TV show Ghulaam.
The actor, who made her Bollywood debut with Begum Jaan (2017), fails to understand this medium based judgement.
“Give me the opportunity before passing any judgement on my acting capabilities. In a recent audition for a web show I was asked several times if I’ve done any TV show in recent past as they don’t want someone who’ve been doing TV back-to-back,” she adds.
Echoing similar views, Mohit Malhotra, shares that after giving a good audition, he didn’t bag the part when his TV background came to the fore.
“I was told ‘oh you’ve done TV, you know you’re over exposed’ and another polite version was ‘you’re good but we’re looking for fresh faces’. I was like I’ve the experience and technical knowledge. On TV, we work on strict deadlines and even without any preparation we act on scripts that get changed at the last moment. Shouldn’t my experience and reach among audience valued?” says Malhotra, who made his film debut with Hacked alongside Hina Khan.
Malhotra points out that actors such as Neena Gupta, Sushant Singh Rajput, Shah Rukh Khan, Pankaj Tripathi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vikrant Massey, among others, have worked in TV. “Look at their film career. What matters is talented and audience acceptance,” adds Malhotra, who was last seen in Naagin 5.
Recalling her brush with biases, Devoleena Bhattacharjee shares, “Mujhe mazak mazak mein bola gaya tha humey na TV acting nahi chahiye. What is TV acting? I understand some shows are over dramatic but then that’s the intended format. There are shows that require subtle acting too,” she says adding such biases are “demotivating”.
Bhattarcharjee reveals many of her industry colleagues have faced similar experiences. “If you didn’t want TV actors then do you not mention that in audition ad? I was once told they don’t consider TV actors because date is a problem given TV shoots are erratic. These are mere excuses. For a substantial role I can adjust my dates,” adds Bhattacharjee, presently shooting for her TV show Saath Nibhaana Saathiya 2.
All set to make his presence felt in Bollywood with Laila Manju, Shashank Vyas too agrees on the existing discriminations. “Most TV shows follow a pattern and at times story and acting may mediocre. But that happen in films too. So this set notion isn’t correct. I’ve been told once ‘bahut tv wali acting ho raha hai thoda normal karo’ but then I was following the script,” says Vyas aka Jagya of popular TV show Balika Vadhu.
However, Vyas, Malhotra and Hiten Tejwani feel a change in perspective seems to be happening, though slow. Malhotra says new age directors, who are ready to experiment, don’t harbour any preconceived notion.
“Though things are becoming better now, but a lot is yet to be done. It’s true that TV actors are over exposed. But given TV’s wider reach and a relatability, it’s easier to form an audience connect,” says Tejwani, who was last seen in Kalank (2019) and has dabbled into TV, films and web.
The Kutumb actor continues, “But not everyone have this mental blockage. There are filmmakers who’re only interested in your craft. Nothing can beat talent. Also, unlike earlier times, schedules for a film shooting are shorter and quicker. So, balancing your other work with film shoot is easier,” he concludes.
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Author tweets @Shreya_MJ