When reel takes over real

Actors are targeted when their real lives don’t match their onscreen personas.

Indians’ obsession with reel-life stars is no secret but sometimes we take our obsession to ridiculous levels. Recently, Parth Samthaan and Pooja Banerjee, who play siblings in popular TV serial ‘Kasauti Zindagi Ki’, faced criticism from fans for their on-screen kiss in another web series, ‘Kehne Ko Humsafar Hain’.

Such was the hate on social media that Pooja was forced to later explain to their fans that they are not really siblings and are just actors playing the part.

This is not the first time an actor is being criticised for doing or saying things that goes against the essence of a popular character they are playing. Some years ago, television actress Sonarika Bhadoria received flak from netizens for posting a picture of herself wearing a bikini. The reason? She was playing the role of goddess Parvati in ‘Devon Ke Dev Mahadev’. 

Metrolife spoke to experts and industry insiders to understand why the Indian audience identifies actors by the characters they play and expects them to be faithful to those roles.


Shanthipriya

 

Audience should not be blinded by beliefs

Actress Shanthipriya, who played the character of Maa Vaishno Devi in the serial ‘Mata Ki Chowki’, says, “It is good to see fans accepting the characters so deeply because it shows that artistes have done justice to their roles. However, fans should not be blinded by their notions and should be able to differentiate between real and reel life. Artistes are actors at the end of the day and are doing their job.” She adds that she has been fortunate enough to not have faced a problem like this till date.

 


Sidharth Banerjee

Not an unrealistic expectation

Sidharth Banerjee, who played the role of Sid (Anurag Basu’s best friend) in ‘Kasauti Zindagi Ki’, says that ‘it is alright up to an extent’. “Fans are accustomed to seeing one playing a certain role. For years, Hina Khan was considered the ideal bahu after her stint in ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’, but now she is seen playing the role of a villain. Fans do feel some initial discomfort but they come to terms with it soon. It is very momentary,” Sidharth said. 

He adds, “It is alright for fans to have expectations from actors because they are the ones who make us but if actors are doing something different, fans too should show their support. It is a two-way process.”   

 

People associate feelings with characters

Daily TV soaps give the audience a chance to be closer to their favourite characters, so much so that some fans start behaving like them, says Sumalatha Vasudeva, clinical psychologist, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital. 

“Television has the ability to impact us severely because we watch it every day. When a person watches a serial, they associate their feeling with the characters; failing to realise that acting is like any other job,” she says. 

She goes on to add that the impact of serials is more as the time duration is much longer, as opposed to a movie which gets over quickly. This is the reason why viewers consider on-screen relationships of television actors as real.

Ignore them 

In a country of six billion people, it is obvious that there will be people who will take offence to such things, says Hemanth Rao, director, Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu. 

“People who are blindly taking reel things seriously should just be ignored. The more space you give them, the more people will express their dissent, even about the smallest of things. I don’t think these actors have broken any rules or done something wrong,” he says. 

 

Some other celebs who were targeted for not confirming to reel personas

Actress Nayanthara, who played the role of Sita in director Bapu’s ‘Sri Rama Rajyam’, was slut-shamed after the movie came out because of her past controversial relationships.

Kannada movie ‘Mussanje Gelathi’ received a lot of flak from the audience as the lead actors were real-life father and daughter. The fact that it was a 
romantic movie proved too much for the audience to stomach.

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