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Neeyat actor Shashank Arora: Unless society changes, we won't see change in cinema

The actor feels that even though there is transparency in content due to streaming platforms, indie cinema still struggles to coexist with the cinema of escapism


Neeyat actor Shashank Arora: Unless society changes, we won't see change in cinema
Shashank Arora

Last Updated: 07.27 PM, May 11, 2023


Shashank Arora has associated himself with films that can be described as content-driven independent movies. With the growth of streaming platforms and an evolved and diverse audience, films that Shashank stars in are finding takers. But the actor points out that no matter how thought-provoking a film is, real change cannot take place in cinema unless people change their mindsets and we all build an inclusive society.

In a conversation with OTTplay, we asked the actor if he feels that the present time is the best phase for content-driven independent cinema.

He said, "I do not know, because independent cinema existed back in the 1960s and 1970s as well. I think that more things need to change around us in society for us to see any real change in films. We have to eradicate discrimination, misogyny, gender bias, and religious bias, and there are a lot of things that even the government has to work on so that we build a better society. Once society is better, art also becomes better because, at the end of the day, art is a reflection of society. I am not sure if times have changed, but, yes, we are trying."

"I am hopeful for a better future, but I am also aware of the past. In the last 40 years, a lot of change has taken place in cinema. We are now heading towards a certain kind of transparency while making content, which is great. But I am concerned about how cinema is heading towards escapism faster than we can control it. Once again, theatrical releases of films have become larger than life. It's a strange, long conversation that we cannot have so fast," explained the actor, who has starred in web series like Made In Heaven and Tanaav, and films like Titli, Brahman Naman, Lipstick Under My Burkha, and Moothon.

The actor also pointed out that mainstream media is not paying the kind of attention to indie films that they do to Bollywood commercial potboilers.

Shashank said, "Even though we would like to believe that mainstream media is writing about independent cinema and filmmakers, I can see that the way people used to write about a genius like Satyajit Ray in the 1960s, the media today writes about Chaitanya Tamane. Back in the day, with the cinema of Ray and Hritwik Ghatak, people thought that change was coming (in cinema), but 40 years later, we are still here, with independent films struggling to get good releases. Having said that, it's not all black and white; it demands a deeper conversation."

The actor was last seen in the film The Song of Scorpions. He plays a pivotal role in the Vidya Balan-starrer Neeyat.

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