Is there a constant fear of getting overshadowed by ‘more popular’ co-stars? Arjan Bajwa, Zeeshan Ayyub, Pavail Gulati and others weigh in

As an aftermath of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, many fingers are being pointed at the industry. Filmmaker Abhishek Kapoor, who directed Rajput’s debut film, Kai Po Che! (2013), had pointed out how the late actor was disappointed when he saw that he wasn’t getting the kind of love around the time his film Kedarnath (2018) released as compared to his co-star, debutante Sara Ali Khan.

This has led to questions about whether such instances of being sidelined during a film’s release are persistent and more so when an actor is working with a so-called big star or a star kid.

Actor Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub, who has worked with the likes of Salman Khan in Tubelight (2017), Shah Rukh Khan in Raees (2017) and Zero (2018) and Aamir Khan in Thugs of Hindostan (2018), says that there’s definitely “partiality” that happens in the industry. 

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“This is the hierarchy system and you may be a crucial part of a film but you’re sidelined all of a sudden. Placement is very important here. I don’t know much about know about the publicity around Kedarnath, but I know it’s always about projecting a person on the basis of their so-called ‘star value’. When you look at 3 Idiots (2009), was it about three friends? No, it was an Aamir Khan film and same with Rang De Basanti (2006). Dilwale (2015), even though it starred Varu Dhawan, it’s still known as a Shah Rukh Khan film,” he shares.

Actor Pavail Gulati, who made his acting debut in Thappad alongside Taapsee Pannu, feels that at the end of the day, it’s about the business and selling as many tickets as possible. 

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कहानियों का पिटारा….🔥 @anubhavsinhaa @taapsee @mrunmayeelagoo @khamkhaphotoartist . . . #storytime #2.0

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“It doesn’t bother me because I knew Taapsee’s face will get more people to the theatres. People don’t know me, I have no brand. I was part of a Taapsee Pannu film and I’m fine with it. Having said that, this situation is totally different from the Sushant-Sara situation. It’s also the fault of the viewers, who prefer to watch one over other, that’s the reason behind that kind of buzz,” he explains.

But all is not lost as long as you’re clear in the head about your role and contribution to a project right from the start, feels Arjan Bajwa.

Having worked with Priyanka Chopra, Akshay Kumar to Shahid Kapoor, the actor says, “All these big stars have been very kind to me before and after the release of the film. There has not been a moment when I’ve felt sidelined or unwanted. When the atmosphere is good on the sets, you can see it in the outcome which is the film. Even in Kabir Singh (2019), I played Shahid’s brother, I know what position I was in and I knew Shahid is a bigger star.” 

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Echoing similar sentiment, actor Jitendra Kumar, who starred alongside Ayushmann Khurrana in Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan, says that he never felt that he was treated any differently while working and also during the promotions. “It was never like I was pitted against anyone. Both of us were equally important in the story and that is what it was.”

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