It isn't everyday that some of the country's finest actors, all of whom aren't 'stars' as conferred by Bollywood but genuinely talented actors, assemble together for a chat about their individual journeys and the state of Hindi cinema.
To have Pankaj Tripathi, Seema Pahwa, Vikrant Massey, Manav Kaul, Meher Vij & Shweta Tripathi on the same table is therefore a true delight for anyone who's a fan of truly fabulous cinema.
All these master actors recently came together as part of Rajeev Masand's The Breakouts Roundtable for 2018 in honour of their standout performances last year and as expected, the discussion was invigorating, intelligent and insightful.
Having given 5 back-to-back incredible performances in 2017 alone, the brilliant Pankaj Tripathi was an obvious contender for this panel. After all, to give films like Anaarkali Of Aarah, Newton, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Gurgaon & Fukrey Returns in the same year is no easy feat!
(Translation: Our society is really star-struck. We want stars not just in cinema but even in sports and politics!)
Who hasn't loved Seema Pahwa in Bareilly Ki Barfi and Shubh Mangal Saavdhaan? The theatre veteran has mastered the art of adding value to otherwise stereotypical roles, coming out as a relatable mother on screen.
(Translation: Female actors are typecast really quickly. If you wear jeans, it's assumed you can't wear a sari and vice-versa.)
After making an impactful appearance in Masaan, last year saw Shweta Tripathi in yet-another brilliant role in Haraamkhor and true to form, she matched Nawazuddin Siddiqui head-to-head in the film.
Meher Vij may not have been popular before Secret Superstar but as a mother trying to help her daughter and a wife battling abuse, she was exceptional in the film, winning everyone's heart.
Certainly one of the finest new actors to have made a mark, Vikrant Massey is the 'hero' we need more often in films but unfortunately don't get. With A Death In The Gunj, he's proved that he's far better than the other so-called 'heroes' we see in masala potboilers far too often.
With a sparkling performance as Vidya Balan's husband in Tumhari Sulu, Manav Kaul finally won the acclaim he'd been missing out on for many, many years.
(Translation: We have so many talented actors in the industry who can do all kinds of roles. Atleast give them one chance?)
These actors spoke about not getting enough exciting roles, the industry's obsession with 'stars', the process behind their performances & the things they'd like changed in Bollywood.
It's an honest chat with some of India's finest performers and certainly one that shouldn't be missed by anyone who claims to be a cinema lover.
Watch the conversation here:
Designs: Saransh Singh