Sarika on being away from films: I was offered mother’s roles to heroes 3 years younger than me

It is going to be a delight to watch Sarika return to the silver screen. The actor with hypnotizing eyes and unmatched charisma is set to feature in Amazon Prime Video’s Modern Love: Mumbai, for Alankrita Shrivastava’s short film My Beautiful Wrinkles. We last saw her in Baar Baar Dekho (2016).

In a candid interview with indianexpress.com, Sarika opens up about normalisation of ageism towards female actors in the entertainment industry, how she craves well-written characters and why she said yes to this short film for an anthology on a streaming platform.

It may appear as if the actor is picky about her work but Sarika says that very few “good roles” come her way. That’s why when Alankrita went to her with My Beautiful Wrinkles, a coming-of-age film for a woman in her 60’s, she immediately said yes.

My Beautiful Wrinkles- Sarika Stills from My Beautiful Wrinkles, a short film in Modern Love: Mumbai anthology. (Photos: Amazon Prime Video/ Instagram)

She says, “If you don’t say yes to Alankrita, then who are you going to say yes to? I just love her work. It is a beautiful character, it is a phase in her life and it is very interesting as it is a coming-of-age film. It is unbelievably beautiful, this coming of age can happen at any age, and I think that is is such a beautiful concept. It is a very layered story. I didn’t doubt why is she (her character) doing this or anything, I mean these are the right questions but never the sort that don’t let you get a hook in the character. I really wanted to work with Alankrita as a director.”

She adds, “The kind of character I play here needs someone like her; every director cannot handle that. So sometimes you get very good roles but maybe the director, they might be good, but not for that particular subject. That was not the case here. If I had to do something like this, it had to be someone like Alankrita.”

Female actors in their 60’s seldom get central roles, with ‘mother’s roles’ foisted upon them. That was an important reason why Sarika chose to stay away from films, “That has been happening for the longest time.”

She shares, “I remember when I got back to acting, the first 3-4 films that came to me were like ‘oh! she is back, ab isko iski maa bana do, uski maa bana do‘. They wanted me to play mother to heroes who were three years younger than me. This is a very old-age thing. Now, thanks to OTT, where the financial risk is not there, people are ready to try out different things. We have better scripts, and much wider audience thanks to OTT in our country. So, you can put it all out there, and that whole collection and distribution thing is not there. So we can be more honest and can bring out real stories. That’s the only thing that’s happening, but ‘woh tabhi bhi tha, abhi bhi hai’ (ageism when it comes to roles for female actors), and that’s is not a thing that we change.”

Now that Sarika has gotten back to film sets, she wants to stick around. “As actors, you want to do more work, play different roles, but you’re also totally dependent on directors. When I have got good offers, I’ve never missed an opportunity to do that. As actors, we don’t know what we will be offered, but the good thing is that in the past few years, it has become so much more interesting. Also, there is such diversity in directors today, which results in diversity in content. So, we are catering to everybody out there.”

From what we seen in Modern Love Mumbai trailer, Sarika is the recipient of a young man’s love. So, how does she feel about bagging a romantic lead at her age? She says, “I don’t care. If I get a good film to do, I’ll do it. Tomorrow if someone offers me a role of a fruit-seller and if it is a good role, I’ll do that too.”

“It is just one of the roles. You can’t say ‘arre love story mil gayi iss age mein, meri toh nikal padi’, it is really not like that. It is about a good role that you want and feel ‘yes, I got it!’. I crave to work on good scripts, with good directors because that is what makes me happy.” Sarika concludes.

Indianshri

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