Actress-director Nandita Das says it doesn’t take long for actors to get stereotyped and so, she empathises with those stars who refused to play the second lead in her upcoming directorial, Manto.
Nandita had earlier said that it wasn’t a piece of cake to finalise the cast of Manto, which she describes as “totally a labour of love”.
She had presumed that there will be young, charming actors in abundance to play Manto’s closest friend— Shyam, in the movie, but she says all stars whom she approached said no because of the fear of looking like a second lead.
Asked about it, Nandita told IANS, “They (actors) also have pressures. They feel ‘Oh, I will be seen as the second lead.’ I’m happy with the person we’ve found now. It’s not about being the second lead. That character is very crucial in the film. The story is always bigger than any one role.”
“We (actors) face many challenges while working in our industry...there is a certain perception. I understand and empathise with them. If you play the second lead, you are branded as that. If somebody plays a villain, you are branded as that. You do certain kind of roles, and then you immediately get stereotyped.”
Nawazuddin Siddiqui essays the role of Saadat Hasan Manto in the film, which is based on the late Urdu short story writer. The latest one to join the film’s cast is Chandan Roy Sanyal, known for movies like Kaminey and D-Day.
So, is Chandan playing Shyam in the period drama?
“Chandan is not playing Shyam. That is an assumption. He is paying another writer. The name of the actor who is playing Shyam will be revealed soon,” said Nandita whose Between The Lines was one of the first CinePlays, a new storytelling format, to go live on Hotstar – a video-on-demand app – earlier this month. Manto will go on floors from March 15.