Sharat Saxena’s emotional old interview goes viral, actor shares how he was ignored for 30 years: ‘Directors saw me as junior artist’

A 2018 interview of veteran actor Sharat Saxena is going viral on social media. In the emotional interview to CINTAA (Cine & TV Artists Association), Sharat spoke about how he was typecast in Bollywood for 30 years simply because he looked fit.

Speaking to Ajay Bhargav of the association, he said that because of his big physique, no director ever considered him as an actor but simply gave him a fighter or junior artist’s role. “Back in those days, in our whole country, whoever had muscles or someone who looked like a body builder, that person was put under ‘labour class’. He was not considered worthy of fine arts, finer feelings. He could not be an actor, a writer or anything. He could only be a fighter,” he said in the interview.

“Unfortunately, when I came to Mumbai, I was quite fit. My father used to be an athlete in Allahabad University. We got inspired by him and worked out. When Bombay’s producers or directors used to look at me, they never saw an actor but only a fighter or a junior artist. So for 30 years, I only did action. When it came to acting, I was given dialogues such as ‘Yes boss, no boss, very sorry boss, maaf kar dijiye boss (please forgive me boss)’,” he added.

Sharat was an engineer but wanted to become an actor. He worked in hundreds of films as a villain’s henchman in the early days of his career. Later, he starred in films such as Saathiya, Baghban and others.

People of social media were touched by Sharat’s struggles. “He was mind-blowing in Ghulaam against Aamir. In Saathiya, his role as a father was even better,” wrote one. “He’s actually an excellent actor. Never got a role worth his talent. Ghulam might be the only major role in a movie that he has bagged,”another wrote. “Really feel sorry for this man. Bollywood’s fascination with Fair skinned actress as well as stereotyping based on looks is deeply rooted,” commented another person.

You can watch the full interview here:

In the same interview, Sharat also talked about finally getting recognised for his work. “There is a director called Shaad Ali. He gave me the father or the heroine’s role in Saathiya. The film released and the role was very small but people really liked it. After that role, I was finally classified from fighter to actor. It took 30 years for that to happen,” he said.

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Talking about why he was typecast, he said, “This is country of Lord Ram worshippers. The hero’s face should be a reflection of Lord Ram and one should see Ravana in villain’s face. In India, the concept was that Lord Rama was fair with straight hair and he was handsome. And me being a poor guy from Madhya Pradesh, there are no such men in my state. You find people like me there. So they made people like me a villain.”

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