Gufi Paintal : ''Content on TV has gone for a big toss''

The actor who shot to fame as Shakunimama with Mahabharat says that he wants to avoid TV unless the content is out of the box.

By Jyothi Venkatesh

Where did you disappear all of a sudden?
I did not disappear anywhere. I have been working on TV as well as some films as a character artiste. Like Samrat & Co. I keep on directing films too like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with Madhoo, a Chattisgarhi film called Mahatari and now I am directing a socially relevant Rajasthani film called Kangana with Ruhi Chatrurvedi essaying the title role the lines of the serial Balika Badhu
You couldn’t create the magic of Mahabharat?
One wishes to create magic but you cannot replicate characters whether it was Nitin Bharadwaj and I in Mahabharat or say Amjad Khan in Sholay. Luckily as a character artiste, I could keep on experimenting with the kind of roles that I was called upon to do, like Amitabh Bachchan who keeps on changing his persona with every role that he plays. He is senior to me by three years.
What ails TV today?
Unfortunately content on TV has gone for a big toss. Any one who is a good writer is in big demand. The channels go with the mood of marketing. Mr B R Chopra could have produced more than 93 episiodes of Mahabharat but was adamant that he will not stretch the episodes. My Chunni was completed in just 18 episiodes. We did not want to stretch our shows. Nowadays people are happy with 4 to 5 TRPs whereas Mahabharat TRPs went even beyond 90. It is still in the Guinness Book of World Recordss. Of course the entire nation was glued to just one national television. Can you forget Hum Log, Buniyaad, Jeene Isika Naam Hai, Tamas, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi etc, besides Mahabharat? They were the few serials which made television what it is. Nowadays people write the dialogues on the sets and the actors are asked to mouth their lines in front of the camera on the sets. It is unfortunate that directors in the TV industry come by the hours and do not have the knowldege of the set or the background or the subject.
Are you part of any TV serial today?
Unless and until the content is out of the box, I do not want to be part of TV as an actor, though I am a crazy fan of Balika Badhu and Bhabhiji Ghar Pe Hai. The parametes of TV have gone to such a great height that today when big stars like Anil Kapoor or Amitabh Bachchan or Priyanka Chopra are part of their shows, who will watch ordinary TV actors being part of a serial? 
You had assisted B R Chopra and as host of others!
I had assisted directors like B.R. Chopra, Raj Kapooor, H S Rawail, Rahul Rawail and also Ravi Chopra and learnt to be sincere and have a sense of the subject. I learnt to pass a social mesaage even while setting out to entertain.
Which are your five best TV serials as an actor?
My five best serials are Ladoo Singh Taxi Driver which was my first, Mahabharat, Chunni, Sauda, Bahadur Shah Zafar and Mrs Kaushik Ki Paanch Bahuwe, which was my last TV serial as an actor.


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