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Shefali Shah: Slotting of actresses not age-related in Bollywood

At 22, she played a mother to a 15-year-old in the TV show 'Hasratein'. Now 20 years later too, seasoned actress Shefali Shah landed a mother's role in 'Dil Dhadakne Do'. She says slotting of actresses in the industry is not based on one's age.

Shefali Shah
Shefali Shah. Pic/IANS

"I don't think it has too much to do with the age as much it has with your image on screen," Shefali told IANS when asked if roles to actresses are given based on their age and marital status in the industry.

The 42-year-old, who has done films like "Gandhi, My Father", "The Last Lear" and "Waqt: The Race Against Time", also pointed out that it is after all, the industry that typecasts actors.

"Before 'Waqt: The Race Against Time', I did 'Hasratein'. I was 22 years old back then. I was playing a mother to a 15-year-old girl and then I did 'Waqt: The Race Against Time', which was kind of a nail in the coffin."

"Unfortunately, we (people) say 'The industry typecasts you.'. But I want to ask, 'Who is the industry?' It's the makers and the actors. The actors say, 'I'm an actor and I will play a mother, daughter, mermaid, warrior...I will play anything'. But somebody has to cast you that way," Shefali said.

At the cost of "over-stepping", said Shefali, actresses who are "fearless" to play older roles should be "valued".

"'Who is it that slots you?' It is the industry, and who is the industry? It's the makers, right? So, they have to be able to break it, they have to give that chance to actors and say, 'Oh! This actress is fearless and she says that I am 20, but I will play 40 or I'm 30, but will play 65, so give them something of value," said the actress.

Shefali is now also happy to see more women-centric movies on the big screen, and feels the times for actresses is "changing".

"As far as actresses are concerned, I'm extremely happy that it is changing...it has changed with 'Mary Kom', 'Piku', 'NH10', 'Queen' and 'Tanu Weds Manu'," she said.

Shefali, whose performance in critically acclaimed films like "Satya“, "Gandhi, My Father" and "The Last Lear" has been lauded, will be next seen in Karan Malhotra's "Brothers" doing a guest appearance. She will play a character named Maria Fernandes.

She said it's a "a guest appearance", however, "according to me, it is the emotional connect, the emotional backbone of the film."

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