Little to choose from
Television actresses are facing a crisis. Post motherhood, they are only offered roles of on-screen moms to actors their age, writes Srabanti Chakrabarti
On screen, they play the role of a wife, mother and a working woman with elan. But after the cameras turn off, reality strikes. Most actresses find it difficult to juggle their responsibilities between work and home. Especially when they are a part of the television industry where they work for more than 16 hours a day! Which is why most actresses take a sabbatical after becoming mothers.
Take Geetanjali Tikekar for instance. The pretty lady who shot to fame after playing Cezanne Khan’s (Anurag Basu) on screen wife Aparna in Kasauti Zindagi Kay, is back with the show Tere Liye. “I play the role of a mother who is extremely positive, warm and independent.” Geetanjali had taken a two-year break after getting married to actor Sikandar Kharbanda and delivering a baby boy.
Ditto for Prachi Shah. The actress became a household name after playing the character of Pooja Virani in Kyun Ki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. She went on a year-long break after delivering a baby and was back on the small screen with Yeh Pyaar Na Hoga Kam, where she was seen playing the role of a mother of two girls. Not only did her character become popular, she was also able to regain her foothold in the industry.
The cases above reflect a fact that post-pregnancy, actresses are only offered to play mothers on screen. Says Gitanjali, “We are left with little choice. If we want to be a part of television, we have to accept such roles.” However, she clarifies that there was another reason for her accepting her role in Tere Liye. “I loved the role. Also, I have had a long association with Balaji Telefilms, which is why I grabbed the offer.”
As for Prachi, she has two films lined up for release —- Vikram Bhatt’s first 3D horror film Haunted and another Marathi film titled Vichar Tharla Pakka. She says, “But it’s important to stay fit in the business. I have lost 26 kgs since my pregnancy and I feel confident to take up new roles.”
Gautami Kapoor is another case in point. After playing the iconic role of Tulsi in Kyunki... she has been on a break. A mother of two, it has been a few years since Gautami did some significant work on television. “My kids have grown up and I am itching to get back to work. I am just waiting for the right role.” Prachi Shah shares similar feelings. “I am a trained Kathak dancer too. During my sabbatical, I reached a point where I started missing work, which is why I decided to come back to TV.”
However, Rinku Karmakar (Chhaya from Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii and Kiran Karmakar’s wife) does not agree. While she did make a comeback some time back with Palampur Express, she feels that her priorities have changed after being blessed with a child. “Seeing myself on television is not so important anymore. I have a seven-year-old son and I want to devote as much time to him as possible. I never feel out of work at home. Why would I when there is so much to do!” says the actress. Currently, Rinku is working on the show Rakt Sambandh.
Another renowned actress and a mother of a girl, Tasneem, (Mohini in Kyunki...) adds, “Nowadays, whenever I meet my friends and colleagues from the television industry, they tell me that I should start working. But managing a baby is such a big responsibility that I would like to give it more time.”
Gauri Pradhan, her colleague in Kyunki... (Nandini), and a mother of twins, also prefers to stay at home and take care of her kids. Although she did a celebrity chat show, Meethi Choori No 1, recently, she will only return to the small screen if she gets a substantial role.
Priorities change, and so do perceptions. The Hindi film industry itself has actresses complaining that they lose their star value after getting married or after they have kids.
Sadly, television too is plagued by this trend. But lately, actresses like Kajol and Madhuri Dixit have proved that post-marriage and motherhood, they can still bag meaty roles. Television, hopefully, will follow suit.