Salim Ghouse was the victim of colour prejudice: Shyam Benegal

Shyam Benegal who had the opportunity to work with actor Salim Ghouse who passed away on April 29, a number of time, feels the actor deserved a lot more, especially in the commercial cinema

Actor Salim Ghouse
Actor Salim Ghouse
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Subhash K Jha

Shyam Benegal who had the opportunity to work with actor Salim Ghouse who passed away on April 29, a number of time, feels the actor deserved a lot more, especially in the commercial cinema.

“But you know how it is in our film industry as well as in the wider social hierarchy. We suffer from a massive colour prejudice. We boast of plurality in skin pigmentation. But when it comes down to actual facts we suffer from a massive skin phobia. I guess that is what came in the way of Salim’s success in commercial Hindi cinema. Otherwise he was a very good actor,” says Benegal who worked with Ghouse repeatedly in films like Sardari Begum and Well Done Abba and of course the historic serial Bharat Ek Khoj on Doordarshan.

In Bharat Ek Khoj Ghouse played many roles. Benegal recalls Ghouse’s brilliance in one role in Bharat Ek Khoj. “Salim played Lord Krishna. He had to deliver a six-minute monologue, a hard-hitting sermon in front of the Kauravas on one side and the pandavas on the other. I suggested that we do it in at least 2-3 shots. But Salim insisted on delivering the entire six-minute monologue in one take. And he was brilliant….He should have done a lot more work. Salim had his own theatre group. That explains his commitment and intensity. He was an extremely hardworking actor, very disciplined, dedicated and very intelligent. I rate him very highly.”

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