S.M. Zaheer rues lack of roles for senior actors on TV

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Lonavala, May 10 (IANS) Actor S.M. Zaheer, who has worked in theatre, television and cinema, is not in favour of the trend of young actors taking up the parts of elderly characters.

“Performers get good roles, but there is a lot of ‘bheed’ (crowd). People make youngsters old (for roles). Sometimes one feels that the daughter looks older than the mother in a show. My wife also pointed out the same thing the other day,” Zaheer told IANS at the launch of his new show “Mariam Khan — Reporting Live” here on Wednesday.

“Young actors dye their hair and play older characters like the role of a grandfather. Everyone is ready to do everything… Earlier, when directors used to take auditions, they didn’t only see the age, but a character’s depth as well.”

Zaheer has featured in “Criminal”, “Sangharsh”, “Veer-Zaara”, “My Name Is Khan” and “Tere Sheher Mein”. At the moment, he is excited about the Star Plus show — which is about bringing forth the unfiltered way of thinking and carefree attitude of children.

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The actor also censured daily soaps for taking away the quality of the content.

“The quantity has increased, technology has become better and there are more facilities. But since the trend of daily shows came in…earlier, there used to be 13 or 26 episodes…there was a set start and set ending. The writer, director and actors sat for discussions to search for nuances.

“Now, there is no time. People have to make one episode in one day, earlier we used to make one episode in three days. So, there is a difference.”

Recalling one incident, he said: “Manohar Shyam Joshi was making ‘Zameen Aasman’. He was asked to do more episodes after extension. But he declined it saying that his story has ended.”

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In “Mariam Khan — Reporting Live”, he plays the role of a grandfather to the female protagonist. The show tells the story of eight-year-old Mariam and her quirky tale and creative mind. It will start beaming on the small screen from May 21.

“The process to get into each character is that one has to take away one’s own personality and then get into the character. I didn’t have to put so much effort on the show because I am from Lucknow. I come from the same culture and have grown up in the same environment.

“This story is of Nawabs — when their era was over and they were struggling to survive. I took some inspiration for the character from my grandfather,” said the actor, adding that the character is often at loggerheads with his son — essayed by Khalid Siddiqui.

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What’s his next project? A web series with actress Radhika Apte.

“I am working on Phantom Productions’ ‘Ghoul’ with Radhika Apte. I play the role of her father. They have a lot of conflicts to solve. In the series, due to the current situation, the father feels that Muslims are not welcome in India and should leave the country. But on the other hand, Radhika’s character feels that this is her country and she should not leave. “

The project is directed by Patrick Graham.

(The writer is in Mumbai on an invitation from Star Plus. Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at [email protected])



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