Sarika, who started out as a child actor, has spent several decades in Bollywood and, over time, has garnered plenty of experience. Now, with her younger daughter, Akshara Haasan, set to make her debut with R Balki’s Shamitabh, the National Award-winning actor feels that she is entering the Hindi film industry with the “right” project, and she should follow her own instincts, instead of learning from her mother’s experiences.
Have you helped Akshara prepare for her debut film?
I didn’t help her much. I just told her it’s the right film. Sometimes, films may be big, but not necessarily right. A good director, co-stars and technicians make it the right one. I prepared her by asking her to trust them completely.
She must’ve asked you for advice.
I’ve always believed that you must let a person try things on their own because when you give too much advice, it develops preconceived notions. It’s best not to give too much advice, and let the person discover things themselves.
Do you see yourself in Akshara?
No, I don’t. I see a good actor, and I’m not talking as a mother, but as an actor. Acting comes naturally to her. Besides that, I think her USP is her energy. All good actors need not be good naturally; some can be cultivated actors.
How do you think Bollywood has evolved over the years?
I think this is the best time for Hindi cinema. People don’t agree with me, because they like to romanticise the past. Yes, there were good things then, but there are very good things now too. The blend between reality and fiction in cinema is perfectly balanced now. In those days, it was either entirely fiction or reality, which we’d call art or parallel cinema… it has been given many names. But finally, today, an art-house film is entertaining, while even commercial successes sometimes have good performances, make-up, costumes, and characterisation. If you look at Rajkumar Hirani’s films, these are big canvas films, but there is good content in them.
You did a cameo in Amitabh Bachchan’s ficitional TV debut, Yudh. Have you got other offers as well?
Yudh was made like a film, a really long one, then edited and presented as a series. The comfort level was great, and the unit was not like a TV unit — not that I have anything against television. It’s just that you feel more comfortable in an environment that you’re familiar with. I’d love to do television, but the show has to have some sensibility to it. I need to perform; it doesn’t matter what the medium is. I didn’t do TV earlier as the offers didn’t require me to perform. If you can’t do that, then you’re simply doing it for huge amounts of money.
What about judging reality shows?
I’m not so sure about reality TV, because half of the shows are not real. And I suppose it’s a problem globally and not just in India.