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Actor Amala Akkineni On How Women’s Age In Cinema Influence The Work They Get

  • IWB Post
  •  July 22, 2019

Actor Amala Akkineni, best known for her work in the Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, and Bollywood films between the years 1987 and 1993, made a comeback in 2012, after the break that she took to raise her son Akhil, who has also made a career in Telugu cinema.

Since then, the 50-year-old actress has appeared in films across languages and is now a part of the Zee5 Telugu web series High Priestess. Speaking to Scroll, Amala talked about working in a web series and being stereotyped in ‘mom roles’.

On whether working in a web series is exciting for an actor of her age

“Yes, of course, and that’s because of what I call the box-office limitation. Films have a time limitation within which they have to tell you a story. There are limited characters, and those characters have limited opportunities.

When you have a web series with eight episodes, you have that much more time to tell a story and therefore a lot more opportunity to write as well. The characters have a lot more to say, do and grow. The roles also go beyond age and glamour. It is storytelling at its best. I’m really enjoying doing this – I haven’t acted so much in a long time.”

On getting a lot of ‘mom roles’

“In cinema, except in Malayalam, mom roles are being offered to me. They will either be cameos or mother roles. And it’s understandable because again, that’s the limit cinema has. There are two hours to tell a story. There’s only that much you can tell, and that much you can write for a woman my age. Often, she may be a hero’s mother, she may have two or three meaningful scenes. I’m happy with that.”

On the limitation of film writers – not being able to envisage larger roles for women her age

“I see it as the limitation of screen time. If you have two hours, you have to sacrifice something, right?

Also, you’re mostly writing for the age group that’s coming to watch the film in theatres. If that age group is under 30, naturally you’d be writing more for the characters that they’d be interested in. In contrast, a web series will have a varied age-group watching it.

Women my age hardly go to the theatres. We are looking after our careers, our family, our elders, so we end up sacrificing more and more. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have a great life or downtime. For instance, I put my feet up between 9 and 10pm. It is my time, and I’d love to watch a good web series on my tablet or home theatre.”


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