Mumbai, Feb. 5 -- Having acted in several popular TV shows such as Surabhi, Circus, Sailaab, and Kora Kagaaz, Renuka Shahane was one of the most famous faces on the small screen in the '90s.
Then, in 1994, her role in the iconic family drama, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun...!, went on to earn her the tag of the quintessential 'bhabhi'. However, post her marriage to actor Ashutosh Rana in 2001, she took a break from showbiz. Now, she's thrilled to be back with a new comedy serial.
Talking about the changes she's noticed in the industry, she says, "One of the biggest aspects is that actors nowadays are better known by the characters they play, rather than by their real names." Renuka, who was last seen in a fiction serial in 1998, goes on to add, "It is sad that actors who do such extensive work get burnt out so soon. There is no longevity on TV anymore."
After her stint in fiction, Renuka made her reality show debut in 2011 with a dance series. Since then, she has judged a few Marathi reality shows too. But even these formats, she feels, don't give an actor the recall value that TV once offered. "After these reality shows end, who bothers about who was in them?" she says.
Even the trend of young actors playing older roles is one that Renuka finds detrimental. "It's unnatural that these young actresses, who played lead roles a few years ago, end up playing mothers today. But that's the way things are," she says, rueing the fact that this has driven a lot of senior and experienced talents out of the industry.
While Renuka dabbled in a few comedy shows in the past, her association with the genre has grown considerably. She is currently judging a Marathi comedy reality programme and is also part of a Hindi comedy show. "I am not missing drama at all. I have had enough of it; and comedy is fun. I enjoy doing it. In the reality show, I am like Archana Puran Singh (she was a judge on Comedy Circus). I am paid to laugh and it's not much of a job," says Renuka, adding, "The Hindi comedy show, where I play a mother, is about a quirky family. I haven't done the genre in a long time, so it's fun. Also, since it's a weekly, the shoot timings suit me, and I get to spend enough time with my kids."
The actor chose to be part of a weekly instead of a daily soap because of the erratic work timings. "I have been offered many daily soaps over the years, but I couldn't take them up primarily due to the work schedule. One is expected to shoot 30 days in a month for at least the first six months, and then, maybe, reduce it to 25 days. It's not possible for me as I prioritise giving time to my kids," she says.
Having made her Marathi directorial debut in 2009 with the film Rita, Renuka is currently working on two scripts, a Hindi and a Marathi film. "Making a film is there at the back of my mind and I will soon finalise the scripts. I feel I am essentially a director, so I want to get back to it as soon as possible," she says.