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Size doesn't matter

Here is an actor who is certain he can turn the second fiddle into a solo lead, on the strength of his performance. ANUJ KUMAR meets Sameer Soni, who is looking forward to dancing like a man.

SOME MEN are designed to play second fiddle, some are forced to play second fiddle, Sameer Soni is loving playing it to the leading ladies on Indian television - Jassi and Saaksshi. "I have no problem. It is your work that speaks for you. I have done advertisement films where 30 seconds is all you get to sell the product. Also, unlike films, television is a female-dominated medium. And if one considers it as male ego, then it is a reflection on the human being rather than the actor."

Agreed, but starting his career in the sea of men with China Gate, Sameer is in the support cast again, this time to Anoushka Shankar, Shobhana and Arif Zakaria in his effort to cross over genres with Pamela Rooks' Dance Like A Man. "Yes, I am because I have realised playing small roles in sensible films with great actors is better than doing leads in films that don't get completed in time and don't get an all-India release. Dance Like A Man is based on the premise that in our society if a woman forays into the man's territory, it's called progressive, while if it's the other way round, it is considered contemptuous." The focus is on Arif Zakaria and Shobhana. Arif is playing a classical dancer, who faces this problem. Sameer says, "I am playing a light-hearted guy, the love interest of Anoushka, who is also a dancer but I am not concerned with her profession. I just want to marry her." Sameer feels doing the film has made him realise his potential in such cinema. "I could become the best actor in this form," he claims.

As on television, Sameer is happy juggling between action and emotion in Saaksshi, though he will make a late entry in the serial as the head of anti-terrorist squad, Astra. "Television is too hectic. Unlike films, where you have to shoot for two, three scenes in a day here at times, you are asked to complete eight to nine episodes in a day. It is real hard work." And creativity as the medium demands everything in words. "At times, it does get monotonous, but then it depends on your potential and good people manage to get their pauses and reactions right."

Sameer doesn't consider that channels are fooling audiences with stories either refusing to progress or taking time jumps without notice making impossible to distinguish between daughters and mothers. "When a serial peaks, to cash in on its popularity, some channels tend to stretch a plot but with TRPs changing every week, nobody can afford to take its viewer as dumb. He can switch channels." Indeed Sameer, today he can follow three serials at a time without affecting the ratings of any.