By Ruchika Kher
Mumbai, Feb 17 (IANS) Seasoned actress Sarika, who started her career as a child artist in the late 1960s, says in over four decades there has been no marked improvement in the condition of young ones on movie sets and it can still be called "child labour".
"Basic problems are still the same. It is said they have teachers coming on sets and proper time is given for homework, but nothing of that sort happens. It never used to happen then and things are still the same," the 48-year-old, who is a mother of two daughters, told IANS in an interview.
"It's more glamourised now, but it can still be termed as child labour. Children are smarter now and that's why they are easier to work with," said the actress who was seen as a child actor in films like "Aashirwad", "Satyakam", "Jyoti" and "Haar Jeet".
After doing several films as a child artist, she moved on to do romantic roles with "Geet Gaata Chal" and did a variety of roles in "Shriman Shrimati", "Satte Pe Satta" and "Raaj Tilak".
In the late 1980s, she bid adieu to showbiz to start a family with Kamal Haasan, but returned to the silver screen again in the late 1990s. In her second innings she has mostly done offbeat movies like "Tahaan" (2008), "Manorama Six Feet Under" (2007), "Bheja Fry" (2007) and "Parzania (2005), which won her a National Award for the best actress.
Right now the actress is looking forward to the Shoojit Sircar-directed "Shoebite", in which she has teamed up with megastar Amitabh Bachchan.
" 'Shoebite' is a very sensitive love story. I'm really looking forward to that. Shoojit is a very good director. It's very difficult to explain what he is. Very simple, very quiet, yet there is something very different about him," she said.
She raves about Amitabh's dedication and energy levels, saying: "It was a great experience to work with someone who is so punctual. Plus, his dedication and interest level at this stage of his career is amazing and so inspiring."
A very unique love story, "Shoebite" traces the life of John Pereira, a man in his early 60s who sets out on a journey of self-discovery and penance that leads him to rediscover his love for his wife in the fag end of their marriage.
She enjoyed working on the film produced by UTV Motion Pictures.
"One is that you go and shoot and come back, the other thing is that when you feel nurtured while your shoot, this was the feeling this time."
Not just this, Sarika will also be seen in a film by "Bheja Fry" director Sagar Bellary, called "Kaccha Limboo", which will hit the screens Friday.
Also starring Atul Kulkarni and a host of child actors, the film addresses issues pertaining to adolescent children, who have just entered their teens.
"I liked the script very much. I thought I should be part of it because I felt that nobody has touched this space. It was very good for me as an actor to be a part of a film that was dealing with a subject not touched before," said Sarika.
When asked about her criteria for selecting roles, Sarika said: "The criteria are to get an absolutely fabulous role and, secondly, for me it is very interesting to do a film which has some grains of reality because I don't want to do anything that I don't relate to at all.
"I want to be very comfortable in what I'm doing, and such roles you don't get every day; so I'm seen less," she said.
(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at email@example.com)