The quality of contemporary TV content needs to improve: Anil Rastogi

Anil Rastogi is a man of many talents. A scientist by profession, Rastogi has acted in  popular TV serials such as ‘Udaan’ and ‘Na Bole Tum  Na Maine Kuch Kaha’ durig his association with the entertainment industry. Moreover, the actor has also played pivotal roles in films such as ‘Ishaqzaade’ and ‘Monica’.

In this telephonic interview, he talks to about his TV show ‘Kalash: Ek Vishwas’ which airs on leading channel. He also touches upon the issues such as the importance of theatre and the current state of Indian television

What encouraged you to take up ‘Kalash Ek Vishwas’?

‘Kalash’ revolves around a talented girl who is discriminated against by her grandmother. So in a way it very beautifully criticizes gender bias, emphazing that women are equally as skilled as men. In rural India women are often deprived of education. Hence, I feel that powerful women-oriented shows like this one are the need of the hour and can go a long way in bringing about a positive change. Moreover, my character is an extremely powerful one. Such roles help an actor explore himself and grow as a performer

In what ways has Indian television impacted society over the years?

See, When I started out there was just one channel namely Doordarshan. However, with the introduction of cable TV Indian Television assumed the form of a full-fledged industry. An increase in number of channels created more job opportunities. As such TV became a viable career option for aspiring artists. Moreover, the rise of reality shows, over the years has helped talented singers from the hinterland in becoming household/recognisble names.

What are the things you would like to change about the television industry as it stands today?

Nowadays, the Television industry has become synonymous with long working hours. This stressful schedule often prevents artists from getting any proper rest. So the number of hours allocated for shooting needs to be reduced.Secondly, even though there are a lot of good shows being produced these days, the content often tends to be a bit repetitive. That is why; contemporary shows are not as good as classics like ‘Tamas’ and ‘Udaan’.

Moreover, there is a tendency among people in the industry to compete with each other. This race must stop, creating a conductive environment for creative thinking.

Besides television, you have also acted in films. What are main differences between these two mediums?

Television is a medium of close-ups whereas cinema is a ‘larger than life’ platform. It utilizes a lesser number of close-ups. When acting in movies one has to be very particular about his body language and expressions. Moreover, in order to deliver a good performance on the big screen an actor needs to mug up or learn his dialogues by heart and deliver them in one go.

Do you think theatre can serve as a good training ground for actors?

Theatre is synonymous with numerous rehearsals. And each rehearsal teaches an artist something or the other about acting as an art form. Moreover, theatre helps in improving one’s dialogue delivery and expression. Hence it serves as a perfect training ground for aspiring artists.

What is your take on the state of theatre in Lucknow?

Theatre is still a popular art form in Lucknow. However, the overall quality seems to have taken a beating. Even though some good plays are staged every now and then, things are not the same anymore. This has happened because many artists don’t take theatre seriously, treating it with a ‘chalta hai’ attitude. Things can only improve only if actors start respecting directors to the fullest and approach each role with sincerity.

How easy was managing a career in science and theatre simultaneously?

Personally speaking, theatre should be pursued only after completing formal education. I started doing theatre after finishing MSC and taking up research. It gave me tremendous recognition and fortunately everyone—right from teachers to students—supported my association with theatre. So there was no conflict between my passion and my profession. Interestingly, Science taught me discipline which came in handy while doing theatre. Similarly. theatre taught me how to express myself in a professional way which proved to be a big blessing on the professional front.

What advice would you like to give aspiring actors?

Not everyone can be an actor. Recognize your abilities and access yourself before making any decisions. After taking up acting, give it your best and be sincere. Otherwise, everything will be a waste of time.


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