‘I realised the power of TV during Hum Log’

Seema Pahwa | 52 | Actor

Why do you think Saag Meat became so popular?
You need some element of attraction to engage the public and in this case it was food. But besides that angle, the response I got for the performance was very encouraging. So food or no food, at least the audience does expect a good story to be enacted. And now that I have built an audience, I hope to further strengthen the connect by coming up with more such performances.

Theatre, television and films. Which medium is the most challenging?
The reach of television is massive, but when it comes to films, people exercise choice. Theatre is much more intimate as there is very little distance between the audience and the actor as compared to TV or films. Theatre is also my personal favourite, though I realised the power of TV during Hum Log. There were women who turned up at my house as they really thought ‘Badki’ was an actual person who does social work. That is how influential TV can be.

What about films then?
The entertainment quotient in films is quite high. People spend on it and expect to have a good time. So, films aren’t made to contain much social value. Some quality films do get made, but they don’t have big stars in them and hence don’t engage much with the masses.

You’ve experimented with theatre…
I’ve turned to theatre to connect on a more personal level with wider audiences. Saag Meat was one such endeavour where I literally tried going to the audience instead of being on stage, just to evoke interest in them for the form.

Has the Rs 100-crore brand of films eclipsed quality?
The amount of money that is pumped into some films is shocking. Did an action flick like Dhoom 3 merit Rs 200 crore? What message did it have? If the film shows hunger and starvation, the audience doesn’t want to spend money on it. People will pay to watch Salman Khan, not Sanjay Mishra. The same goes for theatre performances.

What about the current crop of TV serials?
Although the glam quotient has gone up, the hard work and perseverence is retained. But just like in films, the depiction of reality seems to have disappeared from television.



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