Aamir Bashir: Stars come with their baggage, I hope OTT won’t succumb to star power as that would affect content
Actor Aamir Bashir says that people in Bollywood are lazy and don’t want to see or think beyond what they see onscreen. He further calls out the habit of the film industry to pigeonhole people into characters and personalities.
With his last few performances in the web space — Majid in Sacred Games, Yashwardhan Patil in Inside Edge and Nawab Sahib in A Suitable Boy — Aamir Bashir has re-established his positioning as a performer. The actor agrees that these opportunities, unlike what he usually gets in films, helped him showcase other dimensions to his personality. Even the web film Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare sees him in a different avatar, unlike the usual “sophisticated, urbane” roles, he admits being offered mostly.
“Advantage of the web series format is that all characters can be fleshed out well. In a Hindi film, not much time is spent on secondary characters, everything is about the star and the main roles. Content on the web is richer, censorship also isn’t an issue,” he says.
Bashir voices against Bollywood’s tendency to typecast actors in certain roles. In fact, he reveals that after A Wednesday (2008), he was mostly offered cop roles for the next five years.
“I still get cop roles after Sacred Games. People here are lazy. They don’t want to see or think beyond what they see onscreen. The skill set of actors are decided on what people seen onscreen. We don’t get treated as actors having a certain skill set, but as people who’re seen onscreen. That’s why so much recycling of content happens,” rues Bashir.
After such a strong body of work on the web, the actor is hopeful that he’d be offered better roles in films now.
“Actors like Jagdish Raj mostly played cop roles, Jeevan played those evil munshi characters. In Bollywood, people like to pigeonhole people into characters and personalities. It has become the part of our DNA, people would cheer every time Bhagwan Dada danced. So, this typecast thing has been happening for years. I don’t want to fall into that trap, I prefer playing by own rules,” he elaborates.
Given the web boom, many more big stars are exploring the medium. Bashir calls it a transition phase.
“With so much happening on OTT, everyone wants to take the plunge. I’m not saying they won’t be interested in Friday releases any more, but OTT, for now, has influenced our viewing preference with good content. In cosmopolitan cities, they don’t watch TV but web content. Now, after corona break, I don’t know how many people will go to cinema halls soon,” he says.
Talking about mainstream actors foraying into the digital space, he adds, “Stars are already drawn to it. I’m hoping the OTT platforms won’t succumb to star power as that would affect content. I hope their entry would be beneficial and not detrimental.”
Showering praises on how web has opened doors for many, Bashir points how several lesser known actors, filmmakers and newcomers, who otherwise would get lost, are now getting a ground to prove their worth.
“Stars come with their expectations and baggage. But these new and unknown faces are like a blank canvas. In older days, they used to say adaakar and adaa means style. Stars have their own adaa and andaaz, which make them special. As opposed to adaakar is a kalkar, an artiste. I’d urge and encourage filmmakers to look beyond the adaa, because then everything becomes more real,” he concludes.
Follow @htshowbiz for more
Author tweets @Shreya_MJ