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Boxed in by Age: Prachi Desai’s experience after Rock On debut

In a recent interview, Bollywood actress, Prachi Desai opened up about her struggles in the industry after a successful debut with the 2008 film, Rock On.

She also starred in the famous Zee Tv serial, Kasamh Se in 2006 alongside Ram Kapoor. This serial shot her to fame overnight and she quickly became a household name.

However, after Rock On, she did get some roles in other films such as Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai, Bol Bachchan, Rock On 2, and Azhar. But, after these few films, no one approached her with new scripts for new films.

But, all these setbacks have not affected Desai in the least and she’s back with a bang but this time on OTT and is hoping that audiences will appreciate her new work.

In the interview, she talked about her transition from TV to films, her choices in careers, and a sore lack of guidance in the industry.

A Shift in Focus: Exploring New Genres and Opportunities: Prachi Desai

When asked about her thoughts on how actors who weren’t successful in Bollywood consider the OTT platform a blessing, she said,

During and after the pandemic, OTT changed everything for writers, directors, news comers and even for actors like Manoj Bajpayee and Vijay Varma, who were known names, but their potential wasn’t fully tapped. In my case, I could have never imagined playing an undercover cop in a typical Bollywood film, but web films like Silence 1 and Silence 2 gave me the opportunity to break barriers and do something different. OTT was a breather for actors who had to wait endlessly for films to be financed and eventually released in theatres.

She was then asked about her successful transition from TV to films and what made it difficult for her to land the right roles in the industry, to which she replied,

I was only 17 when I started doing Kasamh Se and was shooting six episodes a week. My world changed overnight when I won Jhalak Dikhla Jaa. And at 19, I was suddenly the lead actress in Rock On, opposite Farhan Akhtar. It was an incredible opportunity, but after Rock On, nobody remembered that I was a 19-year-old, and I think I got slotted in the older woman category. I came from a humble background; my parents are teachers, and people didn’t realise that unlike others, I did not grow up at parties, and neither did my dad make films. I became a victim of lazy casting. I, too, made errors in choosing the right projects as I did not have a production house or an agency guiding me. I had to make a living and establish myself in Mumbai, so I accepted what was offered to me. As a young girl, I made mistakes because I wasn’t sure what was good and what wasn’t. But if I reflect on my journey, I feel gratitude and give myself credit. Now, thanks to films like Silence on OTT, actresses like us are no longer told that female actors have a shelf life.

She had to answer a rather tricky question that involved asking about her overexposure in the TV industry gave her a hard time finding roles. To this query, she replied,

When I did Kasamh Se, I got a lot of love from people in India and abroad. When you receive such adulation, how do you go against it? Many people advised me that I should change my image, but I found that forced. I could never fight the image of being a TV actor. In 2006, I was at the peak of my career when I was offered these big-budget films. That’s because Farhan and Abhishek (Kapoor, director of Rock On) did not have that notion about me being overexposed. Otherwise, the casting process is quite conventional and generic in the industry. There are five names which keep circulating around and the bifurcation is made based on whether you are considered an A-list actor or B-list actor. It is not on the basis of the role or whether you suit it.

Catch Prachi Desai’s OTT films, Silence 1&2 on Zee5 now.

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