New Delhi, Feb 5 (UNI) As the 'homely' and 'traditional' Tulsi in the long running serial 'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi' (from where she was unceremoniously dropped recently), she received a lot of flak from media analysts and intellectuals who charged her with presenting a regressive picture of the Indian women in modern times.
Television actor-turned producer and politician Smriti Irani, however, feels that it is the actors' life and ideals, rather than their on screen persona and appearances, that put across a message to society.
''I don't think an actor's role can be a message for society.
Rather, I feel it is their life that can be a message. For example, as an actor, if I refuse a tobacco related endorsement or if I do not promote alcohol then I am setting an example for the public, ''Smriti told UNI in an interview here.
In what could be seen as an oblique reference to many Bollywood heartthrobs, including Shah Rukh, Salman or Fardeen Khan promoting commercials for tobacco products or alcohol, Smriti said popular actors agreeing to be part of an advertisement for a product has a tremendous impact on the people.
''The day an actor steps into the world of modelling, he or she creates an image that is accessible to many, thus leading to a widespread impact. That is where, I feel, one's responsibility as an actor comes in,'' She said.
As an actor, Smriti, has had many ad agencies approaching her with an offer to promote a particular product.
''I have so many people coming to me and asking me to say in an advertisement that a particular product adds to the energy level, something which they feel will help add to the sales of the product.
But I have declined all these offers,'' the actor-turned politician said.
She may have been the butt of criticism for her portrayal of Tulsi and her long association with 'Kyunki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu thi', considered the forerunner of the 'done-to-death' concept on TV of 'saas bahu' serials, but as a Television producer for the last two years, Smriti Irani has been striving to provide to the viewers 'different-from-the usual' stuff, from 'Viruddh' on Sony to 'Thodi Si Zamin Thoda Sa Aasman' on Star Plus to 'Teen Bahuraniyan' on Zee TV.
''Most television producers today tend to make serials on the 'saas-bahu' concept. There are very few who are able to make something new with each of their new products. In this context, I can say that in the last couple of years I have, as a producer, established a niche for myself in this slot. Any channel that today wants to give to the viewer 'something different from the tried and the tested' know I am one producer they can get in touch with,'' Smriti said.
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