Actor Sarika began her career at the young age of seven as a child artiste. Her first film was the late filmmaker BR Chopra’s Humraaz (1967). After appearing in a slew of other films like Aashirwad (1968), Satrakam, Balak and Beti (all three released in 1969) as a child actor, she marked her debut in an adult role with Kagaaz Ki Nao (1975).
As she completed 55 glorious years in showbiz this year, News18 exclusively catches up with the veteran actor, who looks back at her journey and asserts that she wouldn’t want her career to be any other way. “This was my destiny. Being a cinema person was my calling card. Life took me on that path through and through,” she remarks.
But starting work so early on in her life didn’t let her have a regular childhood. She, in fact, reveals that she has ‘never been to school’. “At that point, I felt bad. I feel bad even today when I see that child stars don’t get to go to school and they’ve to work so hard,” she states.
So, it was her film sets, which proved to be a learning ground for her. “When I look at the good part of it, the film industry became my school and college. The directors and the actors I’ve worked with became my teachers. I’ve also done other things in the film industry, so I kept hopping from one thing to the other. This has been a really good journey. I love it and I wouldn’t want to change anything,” explains Sarika, who has also been a costume designer on films like Hey Ram (2000) and Chachi 420 (1997).
However, over the years, the actor has become rather selective about work. Uunchai, which released recently, saw her returning to the big screen six years after Baar Baar Dekho (2016). Quiz her about her infrequent acting stint and she says, “The first thing that comes to my mind when I look at a script is my role, the director and the screenplay. I also ask myself if I’m going to enjoy the process. We do films for different reasons at different points in our lives. I really like to work on a set which makes me feel happy and good.”
Sarika also rues the dearth of good scripts in the film industry today. She remarks, “Unfortunately, that many scripts and roles are not there. There are so many good actors and there are only that many scripts. So, at any given point, some of us will wait for a good role or script.”
But with the onset of the OTT wave, Sarika believes that we’re in ‘the golden age’ of Bollywood even though we’re far behind vis-à-vis Hollywood where an actor’s age and looks come secondary to the script. The Modern Love Mumbai actor elaborates, “These issues aren’t prevalent abroad because there they cast characters. When the makers are writing characters, they don’t think how young, old, beautiful or not beautiful the character should be. But here, we write and cast actors. That’s a bit of an issue. We still haven’t reached there.”
Sarika continues, “We’ve seen some very good films in the past ten years sparsely here and there. The change has been happening slowly but in very small pockets. But if you go to OTT, they’re much better with it.”
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