Shelf-life is a term Indian cinema more often than not associates with its female actors. For their male counterparts, fancy phrases such as ‘aged like fine wine’ are more common. As soon as they reach a certain age, actresses are typecast or at times vanish from the screens. However, the sporadic growth in the popularity of OTT content has opened new avenues for artists who have suffered due to Bollywood’s lousy casting.
Neena Gupta, an erstwhile actor, returned to the screens in a way we never expected. Following the success of Badhaai Ho, she found roles at her disposal that were worthy of her talent. But mainstream cinema has often missed out or neglected the acting prowess of veteran actors while focusing on younger heroines.
Yes i was just thinking about this hamari umar ke role toe kamsekam humse kara lo bhai https://t.co/6Fmrxn0HbE— Neena Gupta (@Neenagupta001) September 24, 2019
One such actor, who never truly left the pitch, has made the best out of the opportunities that came her way and broke stereotypes in the process is Supriya Pathak.
Supriya Pathak, well-known for her riveting and powerful performances, has been taking up projects which are one of a kind — in premise as well as characters.
Recently, while speaking to PTI, Pathak asserted that “it’s a lovely time” to work as an actor and she has been doing more interesting work now than ever.
Honestly, growing up has been a boon for me.
Although Supriya Pathak’s contemporary acts have a common factor —she plays a mother in most projects — they are totally unlike Bollywood’s unvarying portrayal of mothers. She has earlier essayed the role of a mother in the Ranbir Kapoor starrer Wake Up Sid. In the film, Sarita, her character, struggles to connect with her son and overcome the generation gap.
On the contrary, in Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram Leela as Dhankor Baa, who is the matriarch of the family, she seems ruthless on the surface but her character is considerably layered.
Pathak puts it in a simpler manner. During an interview she said, “In society, the role of the mother has changed, so it has changed in films too. It’s an important move forward”.
When it comes to mother’s character in our cinema, though it is true that a lot depends on writing, I would say, we also can break stereotypes through our performance.
With each of her performances, she has explored atypical shades of a woman. In her latest OTT success, Tabbar, the actor again features as a mother but when you watch Sargun, you know she is so much more than that. Pathak ably conveys the dilemma of her character, who finds herself conflicted between humanity and motherly affection, in the brilliant family drama (the kind we rarely witness).
Speaking of family dramas, one cannot overlook another masterpiece, Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi, helmed by debutant director Seema Pahwa. The director brought to the screen an immensely relatable North Indian joint family with the film. And Pathak redeemed Bollywood’s widowed characters through Mrs. Ram prasad aka Savitri. Without much to say, the actor makes you root for her with her earnest performance.
After the demise of the family’s patriarch, Ram Prasad, his wife rather than staying a wallowing widow gathers the broken pieces and begins again.
Savitri’s metamorphosis into a woman who takes charge and leads, is the turnaround we have longed to see in our films.