After Prosenjit Chatterjee, more regional actors call out Bollywood for not giving them enough opportunities
Regional actors such as Pratik Gandhi, Raima Sen, Siddharth Jhadav, among others talks about the struggle of finding good roles in Bollywood.
In the recent times, Bollywood has seen an influx of actors from regional film industries, coming here and making a mark. However, many still criticise the Hindi film industry for its lack of diversity and inclusion of regional actors. Recently, Bengali cinema’s leading actor, Prosenjit Chatterjee, shared his thoughts on how Bollywood does not offer a lot of work to regional actors and his statement sparked a debate with more regional actors coming out and sharing their similar experiences while finding work in Bollywood.
Pratik Gandhi, Gujarati Actor
Forget getting rejected for a project, regional actors from Gujarat (I can only talk about Gujarati actors since I hail from there) are not even given opportunities to test or to audition. And somehow if they manage to do so, it’s very hard to finally get the project. This tag of regional actors affects a lot when it comes to getting work in the Hindi film industry. Gujarati actors trying to enter Bollywood are also highly typecast. The characters offered to them are very caricature-ish of somebody who is loud, funny with a very heavy accent. I also did a few projects like those initially, including Mitron and realised that it’s difficult to break that image and convince that you are a versatile performer. Things changed for me a bit after Scam 1992 and I believe you have to create a success story to make people interested in you. Now, [when I am offered a project] I can see the role being written keeping me in mind.
Raima Sen, Bengali actor
I don’t not know about others but regional actors from Bengal don’t get a lot of work in Mumbai. They use us mostly when the film is also loosely based in Bengal. Also, in Bollywood, it’s also about survival of the fittest as there are new faces trying to step into the industry everyday. There is enough talent over there and they want to protect their people and give them the chance. And I understand all of this it because we also make a couple of films with people from Mumbai. We also have to protect our industry and work with our own people.
Navin Prabhakar, Marathi actor and comedian
I’ve been working as an actor for last 12 years but every time I tried to step into the Hindi film industry, I felt there is a lot of partiality. First thing that we get to hear is that you do not fit the look. We need upmarket look. Imagine how insulting it is. We are usually asked to record an audition and send it via email. During Covid-19 phase, I had send 650 auditions out of which I got three selected for three films and two commercials. Also, there is a lot of negotiations that happen when it comes to our salary. Itna zyada hojaata hai ki kabhi kabhi toh main kaam hi chor deta hu.
Siddharth Jhadav, Marathi actor
I don’t really go around auditioning for the Hindi films, I know it’s not easy. Instead, I’m happy working in the regional industry and I take opportunities from the Hindi filmmakers as and when they’re offered to me, based on merit. Whatever work I am doing in Bollywood, is because of my filmography in the Marathi film industry. When they see me doing good work, I get good offers from the Hindi filmmakers such as (filmmaker) Rohit Shetty. Mene sabse zyada kaam unke hi saath kiya hai, and that’s because he watches Marathi cinema and understands which actor would be fit for a part in his film. So, I’m not averse to the idea of working in Hindi cinema, but I’m not desperately looking for it.
Seerat Kapoor, Telugu actor
If you understand who you are as an actor, what you can land on to the table, sooner or later, you will attract people who will capitalise on that. I have never taken rejections in a negative light. If a movie has not worked out, I understand the why. It does not mean you don’t fit it. It just means that sometimes it’s not your truest form or element. So, I am okay to let those go and not get bogged down by those.