By Arundhuti Banerjee
Mumbai, July 15 (IANS) With the new TV show “Bahu Begum” coming on air, and films and web series in her kitty, renowned actress Simone Singh is quite busy in her forties. The actress says that the obsession for youth in the entertainment industry is a global phenomenon and the change in perception of how a woman’s age is represented on screen is a progressive sign.
It is interesting to observe how many actresses in their late thirties and forties are bagging interesting roles in the film industry ;lately. These include stars such as Vidya Balan and Kareena Kapoor Khan as well as renowned actresses like Tisca Chopra, Divya Dutta and Neena Gupta.
Simone, who started as a model, is also bagging substantial roles in that explore her talent. Does she feel Bollywood is shifting focus from its age-old youth obsession?
“I think the obsession for youth is a global phenomenon and there is always a pressure on women. I do not look at it just as a problem (prevalent in) the Indian entertainment industry, it is everywhere. The positive thing is, it is changing now globally and we, the Indian entertainment industry, is a part of that change. Now, characters are written for all age groups. These characters are more nuanced and such things are always welcome,” Simone told IANS here.
She believes that with age and experience, the story of an elder individual becomes more interesting, and is therefore worth telling.
“This kind of change is allowing us to do more diverse roles in films, web series and TV shows. If we do not limit a character by age, we can experiment more.”
Starting her career as a successful model as a young girl, Simone earned popularity with the show “Heena” in 1998. She was also seen in films such as “Sur – The Melody of Life”, “Being Cyrus”, and “Kal Ho Naa Ho” among others.
In “Bahu Begum”, Simone essays the role of Razia Begum, a strongminded single mother who shoulders a lot of responsibility and represents the matriarchal society. The show also features Arjit Taneja and Samiksha Jaiswal.
The actress has lately been seen in web series such as ‘Haq Se’ and ‘Four More Shots Please!’
Since there is a constant talk on how content of television serials is regressive as opposed to the constant experimentation happening in the digital entertainment space, how does Simone strike a balance?
“The success of web entertainment has brought a radical change not only on TV but also in cinema, in terms of stories and how the audience is consuming entertainment. So that way, TV is also transitioning and adapting to the change.
“We have to understand that historically in our country, TV is a family viewing platform, which is different from the web, where every individual can watch different shows, on their personal device. That changes it all,” explained the actress, who was the first Indian television actress to present and serve as jury at the International Emmy Awards in New York City.
on film assignments, Simone recently wrapped up shooting for Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Aaj Kal’ featuring Sara Ali Khan and Kartik Aryan.
Asked about her criteria of choosing a script, Simone said: “It is ever evolving. With time, we all change. When I read a script, my response to it depends on what kind of story it is amd also in what frame of mind I am. So, it keeps changing.”
“Certainly, though, it is important for me to understand how my character stands in the narration. It is important for me that my character propels the storyline in some way,” she signed off.
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at [email protected])