Veteran actor Surekha Sikri has an envious body of work in theatre, films and television. The two-time National Award winner is also known for playing the role of the matriarch in prime-time soap opera Balika Vadhu that was on air for eight years. Here, the actor talks about the state of Indian television, and more.
Playing one role for eight years must have been challenging...
It was a wonderful role. It was a great opportunity, and I really enjoyed playing the character of the matriarch. Initially, the show’s story was gripping. Then it lagged a bit, and soon, it picked up. But the last leg of the show was a little weird, as far as my character was concerned. However, I stayed till the end, as it was a commitment I had made.
In your next show, you are playing an out-and-out negative role…
I am an actor. For me, it is challenging to do a variety of roles. Maybe after playing the matriarch (her role was both positive and negative at times) in a show, audiences were shocked to see me in a completely negative avatar.
What do you think of the content on TV nowadays?
The current content on TV lacks depth. Nowadays, the attitude is that it (a show) should look glossy and slick from the outside, andar chahe kuch ho na ho (no matter what’s inside). They (the makers) copy from Hollywood. I wish we produced more original content. We have so much talent in India to bring out a world-class product, but I don’t know what holds us back. Maybe it’s easy [to copy], as creating something new requires hard work. But original hone mein jo maza hai woh copy karne mein nahi (the joy one gets from producing original content can’t be compared).
Does this state of affairs make it tough for you to work on the small screen?
I feel bad about the quality of content on television. But what can you do? That’s the way the world is nowadays (laughs). I do the best I can.