The world is her stage

The world is her stage

Varied roles

The world is her stage

Shernaz Patel needs no introduction. We have seen her as a distraught mother in ‘Black’ and ‘Rockstar’ in which her power-packed performances earned rave reviews.

The eccentric character of a medium in ‘Talaash’, the free-spirited and wealthy mother in the online web series ‘Bang Baaja Baaraat’ — these are just some among the many movie roles she has essayed with finesse and aplomb.

Also a veteran in the field of English language theatre, Shernaz has now collaborated with the legendary Naseeruddin Shah for a light hearted short film titled ‘Interior Café’, directed by Adhiraj Bose.

In the city to promote her latest venture, she takes time off to talk to Rajitha Menon about her views on short films, theatre and movies.

Do you feel that the internet is the new platform for entertainment?
Yes, I definitely think so. These days, when you look around, you will be able to see most of the young people constantly hooked on to their devices — like mobiles, laptops and iPads — throughout the day.

Why do you think so?
The online world is one of their major sources of entertainment and we need to recognise that. Thankfully, the content being put out there is not censored and people can make documentaries or movies they want to make, on the subjects they want to talk about. The budget for such net-based projects is also quite less. It is a great medium of expression where people can be creative without any fear.

Do you think short films are catching up in popularity with their mainstream counterparts?
It is like comparing a short story to a novel. They are both different and have their own audience. There is a great market for short films right now but this won’t take away the market of full-length films. People are open to exploring new stuff now. Maybe it also has something to do with our switch to a world where ‘instant’ is the buzzword.

In an age where crores are used as a yardstick to measure the success of films, has content lost its importance?
I don’t think so. There are more and more content driven films coming out nowadays. Popular cinema will carry on in its own style but changes can be seen. For example, earlier we had a category called ‘Parallel Cinema’ which was on the fringes of this big industry but these days there are small-budget, plot-focussed movies being shown in multiplexes and popular theatres. The audience is demanding quality and doesn’t want to be dumbed down anymore.

Theatre, full length movies, short films — what would be your order of preference as an actor?
Each medium is different and has it’s own set of challenges. How I see theatre is different from how I look at movies, though all are equally rewarding. I can’t choose and as an actor, I shouldn’t choose also.

What is the future of theatre? Is it increasingly being seen as something for the elite?
Why should it be for the elite? Tickets for a theatre performance cost less than tickets for a multiplex movie. More and more youngsters are taking to theatre. The audience has only been growing over the years and any fears about theatre losing its sheen are unfounded.

An actor you would love to share the stage with?
I would love to share the stage with any of my favourite actors. But if I get a choice, it would be Judi Dench, my most favourite female actor of all times.