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From Shakti Arora to Sanjay Gagnai – Ageing on screen is a big no for TV actors

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In the world of television, actors are often asked to take on challenging roles that require them to stretch their abilities and portray characters that are vastly different from themselves. However, when a show introduces a leap and asks actors to play characters who are double their age, it can be a difficult decision for them to make. In the recent past, we saw several of them leaving their respective shows for the same . To understand the inhibitions behind not continuing the show after the leap, we talk to five of them.

Actors share the reason behind their decision of leaving a show after the leap.
Actors share the reason behind their decision of leaving a show after the leap.

Shakti Arora

Actor Shakti Arora walked away from Kundali Bhagya after the show took a leap of 20 years. He says, “I would have a problem if you will show me 20 years older than my actual age because this is not a film where you show your mettle as an actor by portraying characters of different ages. It does not work like that in our industry (TV). Yaha aapka image banjaata hai ki aap 60 saal ke ho. So nobody would like to age themselves on the screen for such a long time. People start looking at you in that manner and all the casting calls that you get are for such roles. Aapko bola jaata hai ki usme toh aapka 20 saal ka baccha tha, toh yha bhi krlo.”

Sanjay Gagnani

Sanjay Gagnani, who played negative lead in Kundali Bhagya, left the show just before the 20-year leap. The actor says he is not comfortable playing character “older than my age” but his decision differs based on what project it is. “In Kundali Bhagya, in which I had a great run of 5.5 years, there was nothing more for me to do and I was anyway planning to quit. Leap came as a sign for me to finally take the step. I was not looking for something like that (playing an older character) at that point of time,” says the actor. But he is not averse to the idea of playing someone more than his age in future. “Considering a lot of other factors – time, character, and how that would change the course of my career – I might take a decision of playing an older character, given it results in something good for me.

Mitaali Naag

Mitaali Nag, who played Neil Bhatt’s sister in Ghum Hai Kisikey Pyaar Meiin, decided to part ways with the show after it took a nine-year leap. Ask her the reason despite the show being a superhit, and actor narrates a previous experience. “TV is very quick to stereotype. It takes a lot of effort to break that image. Before Ghum…I did a show called Roop – Mard Ka Naya Swaroop, in which I played a mother to a 9-10 year old child. After a few months the show took a leap and I was made to play the mother of someone like Shashank Vyas- who is my age. I could have done a role opposite him. But after that, I was only offered roles of a mother. I had to reject 10-12 projects before finally finding something that would break my image.”

Pratiek Chaudhary

Prateik Chaudhary, 26, left Sindoor Ki Keemat when the show took a generation leap. The actor said he had inhibitions because “I have just started my journey and it’s only been three years. So I am not ready to play a father on screen unless there is something very strong and interesting for me as an artiste. For example a show like Anupamaa, where your career will also get a growth. I don’t even mind playing a grandfather in that case (laughs),” says Chaudhary. Being an actor, Chaudhary understands the importance of being versatile and says, “It’s not that I am not comfortable playing I father. I am an actor and I should be open to playing all kinds of roles. But to be honest, I was looking for something big and different. I really want to step out and experiment in terms of my roles.”

Vihan Verma

Vihan Verma, 23, was asked to play a 50-year old in Ghum Hai Kisikey Pyaar Meiin, and he decided otherwise. But his reason was not just because of the age related issues but also focus shifting to the new cast after the time leap. “Of course, I was not comfortable playing a character double my age but also things did not materialise well. Storywise, makers could not accommodate all of us and that’s okay because even makers would not want to insult us by making us stand like mannequins,” he tells us.

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