Amrita Rao on why survival rules are different for male and female actors in Bollywood
Ever since Amrita Rao donned the garb of a journalist in Singh Saab the Great, she admits to have new found respect for our tribe — “I know how challenging it is for a female reporter to survive in this field now. I play this ambitious journalist who is out to expose Singh Saab (Sunny Deol),” she tells me. It’s been a good year for the actress so far, considering both her releases fared well at the box office — Jolly LLB and Satyagraha. Was the success of Jolly LLB unexpected? “It was not a run of the mill film to start with. My role had lot of substance and somehow I was confident about the story. I think Bollywood is slowly accepting me. With the new-age cinema I see a lot of scope for me as an actress,” she says.
By the rule book
Though she found her place in Bollywood mainly due to her girl-next-door image (Vivaah, Ishq Vishq, Main Hoon Na), soon that very image seem to backfire on her. In an industry where glamour is a prerequisite for any heroine, Rao’s rule book fetched her fewer roles and those rare instances that she tried to shed clothes (Short Kut:The Con is On), clearly went unnoticed. “I don’t think you can sustain in this industry with glamour alone. Fact remains that scope for actors has improved but as a result the shelf life of an actress has been reduced drastically. Only male actors can survive,” she confides.
Is she open to doing films down south? “Except for a Telugu film with Mahesh Babu, I haven’t really had time to do more. My prime reason is the language. I am a spontaneous actor so I need to react to lines. An alien language will be a problem,” says Rao. She is also a regular showstopper at all Lakme Fashion Weeks. “Being a fashionista is an added pressure for every actor today. I take my red carpet outings very seriously,” she signs off.
— Neelima Menon