EXCLUSIVE Jagga Jasoos actor Sayani Gupta: If you aren’t a star, your talent won’t be respected in Bollywood

Sayani Gupta will be seen in Ranbir Kapoor-Katrina Kaif starrer Jagga Jasoos, which releases tomorrow. The actor, who debuted with Kalki Koechlin's critically acclaimed Margarita With a Straw, has already been a part of big films like Fan, Baar Baar Dekho and Jolly LLB 2.

Written by Priyanka Sharma | Mumbai | Updated: July 13, 2017 9:29 pm
Sayani Gupta, who will be next seen in Jagga Jasoos, says Bollywood needs to move beyond star-pleasing culture.

With Kalki Koechlin-starrer critically acclaimed Margarita With a Straw, Sayani Gupta made a confident debut in Bollywood two years ago but it was only after she co-starred with Shah Rukh Khan in FAN and Katrina Kaif in Baar Baar Dekho, that the masses took notice of her. Earlier this year, Sayani was seen in Akshay Kumar-led Jolly LLB and come tomorrow, the audience will see her sharing screen space with Ranbir Kapoor in Jagga Jasoos. But as her popularity and visibility are increasing courtesy these films, personally the actor has been left disillusioned after working on these stars-led vehicles.

In an interview to indianexpress.com, the actor opened about the disparity she has observed in the treatment meted out to stars and other actors working on a film. “Quite early in my career I have realised that your energy, efforts and talent will not be respected if you are not a star. We are a star-struck, star-oriented industry. That’s sad. This is the reason I want to be a star. I want to be the biggest star in the country only so that my efforts get counted,” she said.

Just before making this point, Sayani spoke about her disappointment with her role in Jagga Jasoos being heavily reduced and how she couldn’t do anything about it as she wasn’t a star. “I believe whatever happens should happen for the best of the film so, I am sure whatever changes were made with my role were for the bigger picture. Having said that, it’s definitely disheartening that your role goes through such a big change over the course of the film and it is reduced to something far smaller than what it was initially. But it’s okay. I am not a star, I don’t have that power. And I don’t mean to say that if I become a star one day then I will control things in a way but the fact is we like putting one person in a higher position than everybody else.”

Did she simply say that there was a disparity on Jagga Jasoos set given the presence of stars like Ranbir and Katrina? Sayani refused, saying that director Anurag Basu works in an independent and democratic manner and doesn’t hold stardom above the script. “Ranbir is a very humble person. He and dada (Anurag) are very grounded people so, there was no weight being thrown around. Katrina was also chilled out. But most of the times it’s not these stars but people around them who create the cloud. That’s in Indian culture. We are like that as a society.”

Explaining herself by citing Shah Rukh’s example, Sayani said while he is the most chilled out actor she has ever worked with, she saw others around him on the set of FAN creating the unnecessary baggage. “I love Shah Rukh. He doesn’t let you believe that you are working with a star. He is the most chilled out co-star. The way he talks to you, have conversations with you and works on the set, it’s amazing. But then there are others, who stick around him and behave star-struck.”

Nevertheless, the actor has made peace with the prevalent star culture in Bollywood and she believes that things will only change when quality of actors is more accepted and mediocrity in acting is challenged. “I am hoping that with my success I can push the envelope and change things in my own way. I hope more and more good actors become successful so the lines are blurred. It’s a fact that most of the stars can’t act. We have such mediocre standards of good work that a performance, which is just a little above average also gets appreciated like it’s something great.”

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  1. R
    Jul 14, 2017 at 12:48 pm
    Even if one crosses 50 , still we want the same b ed heroes .Our Indian mentality is hero worship. Let us discard this type of hero worship and encourage new comers.
    1. R
      Jul 14, 2017 at 12:02 pm
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      1. S
        Subasish Dutta
        Jul 14, 2017 at 10:00 am
        boycott films of mediocre actors...that is the only way audience can help talent rise!
        1. O
          Once AAP follower
          Jul 14, 2017 at 9:34 am
          But again you have to decide that what kind of power you are looking for. For a star power as enjoyed by Shahrukh, you must spend a good amount of money on media and PR. But if you want to be like Irfan then start investing in good script and keep looking for creative team.
          1. R
            Jul 14, 2017 at 3:34 am
            Dear Ms. Gupta, wake up and smell the coffee! The saying andho main kaana raja is intrinsically liked with the Indian movie going mindset. You are absolutely right when you talk about the mediocrity prevailing in the acting standards of our so called super stars. This happens only in India where the so called stars are robbing the cinema going public blind. Lets face it! The mediocre mindset with the movie going public has been prevalent from time immemorial. The chaiwala, the dudhwala, the panipuriwala, the pav bhaji kings are prime examples of the mindset that creates the domino effect that in turn create the mediocrity that is the rule rather than the exception. The hangers on are in it for the crumbs that fall from a stars plate having no ambition or aspirations of their own. So yes I do feel your pain but so long we have an angoota chaap majority watching our films nothing will change barring those rare art movies and performances that light up the night sky.
            1. J
              James Perera
              Jul 14, 2017 at 7:15 am
              YOu are ....A BIG
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