Actor Ratna Pathak Shah, who enjoys a decent fan following due to her outspoken nature, says that her initial years in the industry did not go as planned as she got her first major break after a long struggle.
"I have been acting for a long time and did not find success initially. My break came (in 2004) through Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai. There was a long wait before I got anywhere," she tells DH in an exclusive interview.
Ratna, the daughter of actor Dina Pathak, began her film career with a supporting role in the 1983 release Mandi. She acted in A Perfect Murder and Mirch Masala, which found limited patronage despite receiving critical acclaim.
Ratna entered the television industry with Idhar Udhar, which revolved around the lives of an ad executive and an air hostess. She acted in Filmi Chakkar and Bharat Ek Khoj, giving a strong account of herself. It was, however, the previously-mentioned Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai that established her as a household name. She essayed the role of 'Maya', impressing fans with her timing. The actor's chemistry with Satish Shah proved to be a highlight of the show,
Post Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai, she turned her attention to Bollywood, essaying supporting in films such as Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota, Jaane Tu... and the Rohit Shetty-directed Golmaal 3. While the veteran impressed fans with her work, she was never regarded as a 'box office draw'. Ratna, however, is not too worried about this as she feels there is a major difference between a 'star' and an artiste.
"A star is interested in herself while an actor is interested in the story being told," she says.
The desire to tell new stories is perhaps what has encouraged 'the actor' in Ratna to constantly push her limits. She acted in the Amazon Prime Video-backed anthology Unpaused, a collection of short films shot during the lockdown, adding a new dimension to her career. The actor says she took it as she was 'bored' sitting at home during the Covid-19 lockdown.
"The first instinct came from the desire to work again (after the lockdown). However, later when I read the script, it really talked to me," adds the Khoobsurat actor.
Upaused was released digitally on Friday (December 18), receiving rave reviews. It has an ensemble cast that includes names such as Richa Chadha, Sumeet Vyas, Shardul Bharadwaj, Saiyami Kher and Ishwak Singh