TV actors finally play their age in reel life

By Radhika Bhirani

New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) Young television actors are no longer required to play older characters as was the practice untill recently. With a host of new shows and channels being launched across the country, opportunities for young talent to play their age are increasing manifold.

In a far cry from the times when young Smriti Irani had to play a mother-in-law and then grand mother in "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi" and Shweta Tiwari play mother, then mother-in-law and graduate to a grandmother in "Kasauti Zindagi Kay", the younger actors today are lucky with scripts readily accommodating youthful characters.

Commenting on this, Shailja Kejriwal, executive vice president of content, NDTV Imagine, told IANS: "Young actors are not asked to play a role much older to them at the very beginning of any series. However, if a serial takes a generation leap then it is imperative for the characters to grow as well."

Anupama Mandloi, creative director of STAR Plus, says: "Our new shows like 'Sapna Babul Ka...Bidaai', 'Sangam', 'Santaan', 'Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil', etc. are full of new and young talent and the actors are portraying characters close to their age."

However, two of Balaji's seven-year shows are an exception -"Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi" and "Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii" in which the characters had to jump two generations in keeping with the story line.

Panchhi Bora, 21, plays the female protagonist in Balaji Telefilms' popular soap "Kayamath". A final year graduation student, Panchhi has already mastered moving around in a sari, wearing the 'mangalsutra' and donning vermilion to portray a young married girl.

How does it feel? "It feels strange to be dressed in an outfit I don't associate with my age. But I believe that my character in 'Kayamath' is more about a woman's maturity than her age," Bora told IANS on phone from Mumbai.

Mouni Roy aka Krishna Tulsi of "Kyunki.." affirms that her character is very much like her 21 years. She feels that playing a character much older is a personal choice of the actor.

She said: "It is just a matter of personal choice. If a person does not wish to portray an older character, nobody can force her to. Besides, the name and fame that one gets through the exposure makes such details seem trivial."

Another actor Sarah Khan, just 18, plays a central character in STAR Plus' "Sapna Babul Ka...Bidaai". She says she is comfortable with every aspect of Sadhna, the 20-year-old she plays in the serial.

"I am a very trendy person in reality. But as an actor, I have to be comfortable with the character I play so that I can portray it in the best possible way," she told IANS.

Sarah is confident that if offered the role of a 29-year-old-woman she would have carried it off with ease.

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