Is Stardom Only Through Lead Roles? Nandita Das

Nandita Das Faces The Heat to Find a Star for the Character ‘Shyam’ in her upcoming Film Manto.

The film ‘Manto’ is based on the life of writer “Saadat Hussain Manto”. Nawazzudin Siddique has been zeroed in for the character ‘Manto’. Shyam had been a very close friend of Manto. Shyam had his unique contribution in life history of Saadat Hussain Manto. But Nandita Das says, when she approached established actors of Bollywood for the role of ‘Shyam’, all she got is a ‘no’ for answer.

People are saying no to play the character without even reading the script, nor they are interested to hear about the character. Nandita Das says, the film title may be Saadat Hussain Manto but ‘Manto’ is one character and ‘Shyam’ is another character. I am facing a rejection because people have already conceptualised that ‘Shyam’ is a second lead. It seems, it is derogatory for an established actor to play the second lead.

nandita das                                          nandiat das

Shyam, The Actor Friend of Manto                      Saadat Hussain Manto

‘But my expectation was so different”. I thought that today’s young actors will be intrigued to play the distinguished role of Shyam. Nawazzudin is an established character and he is playing the role of Saadat Hussain Manto. But i want to make the character of Shyam no less worth. But a star does not want to invest time in playing the role of Shyam.

nandita dasnandita das

“Sadly Only a Star can ensure a good box office collection’.

Actress Nandita Das made her directorial debut with the film, ‘Firaaq’. She asks if the road to stardom is only through playing the lead characters? What about an important role that is heroic. She says, ‘I feel if i take a star for ‘ Shyam’ i have to tag a ‘guest appearance’ or ‘many thanks to’ to the role of Shyam’. Nevertheless I think I have to approach a newcomer for the role. But the makers have made their mind for a star to cast in that particular role. They want to pull in crowds on the opening day to ensure box office collection. So sadly, only a star can ensure that .

“After spending almost twenty years in the fringes of the film industry i still do not understand what drives the market force. I have always been happy and looked forward to be a part of a story that should be told. I have not seen films as only a career ladder. But i guess I can only think of myself.”

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