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Beyond the mess of mediocrity

Veteran artiste Avtar Gill laments the lack of talent in most young actors today.



Talent untouched... Avtar Gill in New Delhi.

TALKING OF popular serials, well-known character artiste Avtar Gill bursts out laughing, "No matter how remarkable their ratings are, I would still say, almost all of them are too unrealistic. Can you imagine the mother of a middle-class family retiring for the night in her silk finery and full make-up? If she is not staring at the camera to deliver theatrical dialogues, then she is having an extra marital affair with her husband's colleague, or is busy plotting against her daughter-in-law. Till of course, the next festival or an ostentatious wedding in the family happens. That becomes an opportunity to double up her rouge and ornaments. This kind of acting just doesn't convince me."

But still TV viewers lap it up. "Well, it is not the viewers who would like to see these things. Poor guys have no option," he grins some more. Being in the world of entertainment - theatre, films and television - for no less than 30 years now, being a part of trendsetting serials like Nukkad and Tara, Avtar, one has reasons to think, must know what he is talking about.

It's easy to get him to be vocal about the mediocrity of the subjects and their treatment in most of our tele-serials today. "Even when saas-bahu soaps were a rage, serials like Saans worked well. So, somebody should try to bring a change and offer quality viewing. It is so easy to go down on substance but tough to do otherwise. There are very few producers now left with a zeal to fight the tide."

A superb actor who could be clubbed with those talents in our entertainment industry who never got their due, Avtar's main frame these days is tele-soaps. Having done roles with different shades - comic, tragic or villainous - he has been seen across many channels. He is at present appearing in Unitech UTV's popular soap Ehsaas... Kahani Ek Ghar Ki on DD1.

"It is not an ideal example of what serials should be, but I would say it has shades of reality," he defends.

More films

Besides, he would be seen in films too, like Raman Kumar's Sarhad Paar, Balaji Telefilms' Kya Kool Hain Hum and Mahesh Bhatt's Nazar. "So far, my best role was in Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin," he says, thankful to Bhatt in the same breath for "remembering" him always when he is making a film.

Though Avtar has always been spotted on the big screen doing not-so-big roles, he says he has crossed the age of grumbling against not being given his due place in the industry. The cushion for comfort has been his association with the Indian People's Theatre Association. "I am still quite active on stage," he says. And smiles yet again at the acting ability of today's actors!

"They work on their physique, their hairstyle, their wardrobe to become actors. But what they often forget to hone is their pronunciation of Hindi and Urdu words and their dramatics," he says. One is quite sure this time that Avtar knows what he is talking about.

SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY

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