Film industry no longer laughing stock, says Ratna Pathak Shah
Veteran actor Ratna Pathak Shah believes the Hindi film industry is no longer churning out “garbage” in the name of movies and says it is steadily marching on the path to bring global glory with its work.
The actor, a stage and screen stalwart, said the Indian film industry’s growth is running parallel to the apparent downfall of the cinema from the West.
The arrival of new makers and the courage to tell braver stories carries with itself the promise of putting Indian cinema in the spotlight, Shah said.
“We were genuinely laughable, today we are not. Today, we take ourselves seriously and hopefully the world will too. We haven’t got there yet, we are still struggling with many things, but we are on the path. Down the line, the world will have to take notice of us.
“We will come up with shows, films, that will speak up, standup for themselves. Not in the niche, but in the mainstream (space). Our moment will come. We also happened to be positioned well, because look at the garbage the West is putting out in terms of films!” the actor told PTI.
But the current phase of Indian cinema, the 64-year-old actor said, is hard earned.
Shah, who has been a part of some of the most acclaimed films of recent times, including “Kapoor & Sons”, “Lipstick Under My Burkha” and “Thappad”, said the film industry rightfully deserved criticism for rolling out mediocre content in the past.
The reason, Shah said, was the industry’s collective reliance on “trivialising” everything, which was reflected in its movies.
When asked if it hurts her when people look at the entertainment industry with disdain, calling it a menace and criticising its apparent lack of value, the veteran said it “pains her” because it is true to a “certain extent”.
“We have trivialised everything. Until recently, our films were about the most trivial things, garbage that we could see. Of course not all, but out of the large number of films we produced–800 or something–maybe only eight were something that would stand the test of time.
“That’s a meagre fraction. We deserved that appendage, that we need to be looked down upon. The industry was looked down upon, partly of course, (because) it was snobbery of the worst kind. That anything popular is so ‘downmarket,'” she added.
The actor, who featured in acclaimed films like “Mandi” and “Mirch Masala” in the 80s and beloved TV shows like “Idhar Udhar” and “Sarabhai vs Sarabhai”, now wants to be a part of the evolving narrative and find herself parts which challenge her as an artiste.
There is an urgency in her to dive deep into characters which go beyond the surface in exploring various shades of women, she added.
“What I would like to play now, I guess, is the more extreme fringes of human experience. I’ve never played a drunk, I have never played a mentally challenged person or a seriously unpleasant person.
“Those are parts of me also. I would love to explore what I can be like when I’m really mean. And I don’t mean cute-mean like Maya Sarabhai,” Shah said.
The actor said unfortunately when writers come up with flawed characters for women, they make them like “mean men”.
“I got a part somewhere where I’m supposed to be the villain. But she was doing everything that Amrish Puri had ever done. I’d like to be mean, but not in such a stereotypical way. Women can be mean in a very special way, we don’t need help from men,” she added.
Shah recently starred in “Hum Do Hamare Do” and will be next seen in “Jayeshbhai Jordaar”, featuring Ranveer Singh. (PTI)