'Male stars should play second fiddles'

Candid talk

Known for her strong portrayal of women characters on screen, actress Shabana Azmi feels male stars in Bollywood should consider playing secondary character to actresses in movies.

Azmi said as many actresses are happy to be playing second fiddle to a hero, the same gesture should be reciprocated to make women-oriented cinema more viable.

“I think for women centred films to become even more viable, and be able to expand their budget, it’s time the big male stars also once in a while work in a role that is secondary as compared to the girl. This is something we need to encourage,” Azmi told PTI.

“Because so many girls, who are very important in their own right, are quite happy sometimes to also be playing second fiddle to the man, so why shouldn’t that gesture be reciprocated. I think it’ll lead to a healthy atmosphere,” she said.

The 65-year-old actress, who last year worked in Aishwarya Rai Bachchan-starrer Jazbaa and will be next seen with Sonam Kapoor in Neerja, believes actresses today are making brave choices in their roles. “The girls are particularly making brave choices. It is absolutely wonderful. Look at what Vidya Balan, Deepika, Priyanka, Kangana, have done. Completely unconventional roles. They are willing to make the sacrifice that was required,” she said.

Azmi said women are “willing” to take a cut in their pay cheque too if required.
“Now what is happening is that when you work in a film which doesn’t have a big mainstream hero then you have to have to take a cut in your pay cheque. And they’re willing to do that. And that’s very good,” she said.

On Bollywood’s focus on box office numbers and constant buzz surrounding ‘Rs 100 crore club’, the Masoom actress says that chasing box-office figures can be pressurising for an actor but is something which can be controlled if the male star lowers his remuneration.

“Box office is definitely a pressure. But it is not artificial because it depends on the budget. Not all films need to make 100 crore for them to be successful. It really is in proportion to the budget of the film. If an actor is going to charge the moon then he better guarantee that he is going to return that money,”
she said.

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