Veteran actor Surekha Sikri says writers and filmmakers need to step up and give stronger roles to older female actors.
The two-time National Award-winning actor believes cinema reflects society and that is one of the primary reasons why female actors of a certain age are not given notable roles.
"Scripts are a reflection of what is happening around. It is a male-dominated world, so there are more male characters in films. There should be more roles for older female actors. People of my age were earlier pieces of furniture in a film. But now things are different," she said.
Leaving aside a few exceptions, what Sikri, 73, dislikes is that "stereotypical parts" for the character of a grandmother continue to be written even today.
“Roles like that of a dadi and nani, like a good dutiful or not-so-good, ‘chalu’ (cunning) person, these roles are not interesting, they are one dimensional kind of roles. Things have changed in last few years, which is good, but not much. Scripts are coming in but I am always on the lookout for a good role.” The actor, popular for her performance in Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro, Zubeidaa and daily soap Balika Vadhu, says her love for cinema keeps her enthusiastic about going to the sets.
"I enjoy acting, being in front of the camera. Acting is something I would do all my life." Sikri, who will next be seen in Badhaai Ho, says she decided to take up the project because it had a well-written script.
The film, starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Sanya Malhotra in the lead, chronicles an ageing middle class couple — played by Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao — who accidentally conceive a baby.
"The storyline and the theme was interesting. It is a funny movie and the situations are so funny," Sikri, who plays the matriarch of the family, says.
The actor says producers and writers willing to discuss issues and subjects that are considered too taboo is a welcome change.
"Today the atmosphere has become more open and it is primarily due to the internet. It is about celebrating the issues. People are dealing with real situations and audiences are liking it," she adds.
The slice-of-life film directed by Amit Sharma is slated to release on October 19