Old is Gold! Veterans bag lead roles in serials, films

Jun 20, 2011 Priyanka Sharma

New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) Old is gold it seems! An array of old timers are taking on lead roles in television shows as well as cinema. While actors like Farida Jalal, Apara Mehta, Vibha Chibber take on title roles on small screen, cinestars like Amitabh Bachchan, Om Puri and Rishi Kapoor are seen playing central characters on the 70mm.

Last seen in a guest appearance in "Balika Vadhu", veteran actress Farida Jalal makes a comeback as the protagonist in Sab TV's new show "Ammaji Ki Gali", about families residing in the crowded bylanes of Amritsar. There are six different households, but each one considers Ammaji as the eldest member of their family.

Farida, who is also remembered as a 'naughty' Naani of 2003 TV show "Shararat", considers herself fortunate to have got roles that she has enjoyed playing.

"I am fortunate enough to do such roles at this age. Also, I thank god that I am bringing smiles to the faces of the audience when they are flooded with emotional serials," said the 62-year-old actress.

Remember Savita Virani of Ekta Kapoor's popular show "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi", where actress Apara Mehta played the much despised mother-in-law to the show's protagonist Tulsi? She, however, did turn positive as the show progressed further.

After "Kyunki... " Apara took up Sab TV's comedy show "Sajan Re Jhooth Mat Bolo", again in a supporting role. She has now been roped in to play main lead Leela in Colors' show "Humari Saas Leela". In the show, she is on a hunt for an ideal daughter-in-law.

Similarly actress Vibha Chibber, 47, the sulking mother of Ragini (Parul Chauhan) in "Sapna Baabul Ka...Bidaai", has bagged the title role in Zee TV's new show "Mrs. Kaushik Ki Paanch Bahuein".

"At this age when the glamour quotient dies down, I feel I am fortunate enough to have got a lead role in a TV show. We are forgetting our elders in real life, they also play an important part in an individual's life and our show brings out that importance," Vibha, also seen in Shah Rukh Khan-starrer "Chak De! India", told IANS.

Rajeev Verma, who plays Vibha's husband in the show, said: "A show cannot work without veteran actors."

Scriptwriter Shiv Subramanium ventured into acting late, but thankfully struck the right deal. He is seen as an egoistic businessman in "Mukti Bandhan". He is central to the story that is aired on Colors.

After doing one of the lead roles in the show "Manzilein Apani Apni" a decade ago, Indira Krishnan moved to playing second fiddle, but her career took a positive turn with Sony's "Krishnaben Khakrawala", where she is seen in the title role.

Anooj Kapoor, executive VP and Business head of Sab TV, told IANS that his company doesn't shy away from taking older actors for lead roles if they have the right script.

"I think the choice of veteran actors depends on the choice of character. If a script demands veteran actors, then why not? After all they are seniors and have the experience. It's just the question of an actor who plays the right character," said Kapoor.

Even cinema is not far behind. Despite a new brigade of actors taking centrestage, filmmakers are coming up with scripts that have veteran actors in a lead role.

If megastar Amitabh played the lead roles in "Paa" and "Baghban" where scripts were written keeping him in mind, yesteryears heartthrob Rishi Kapoor made a rocking comeback in national award-winning film "Do Dooni Chaar".

"There is a huge bank of talent among 45-plus people; why should we not touch it?" said director Habib Faisal of "Do Dooni Chaar".

The entire story of "A Wednesday" revolved around Naseeruddin Shah, while "Well Done Abba" was all about Boman Irani's character.

Om Puri was recently seen in a lead role in crossover film "West is West" and he had a prominent role in Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra's "Teen They Bhai".

"There are very few such scripts that would have actors like us in a lead role. There should be more of such scripts," Puri told IANS.

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