Despite good work, Bollywood’s dwarf artists struggle for recognition

January 11th, 2009 - 1:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Amitabh BachchanNew Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) Lilliput, Chhotu Dada and K.K. Goswami - they might leave you in splits with their funny antics on the screen, but behind the grease paint and arc lights there is heartache, humiliation, struggle and much more that these dwarf artists of Bollywood have to face to survive. “People like me have to ask for work. Nobody comes to our doorsteps to give us work. Even now after 25 years of being in the industry, I have to run around to get roles,” Bollywood’s best known dwarf artist Lilliput told IANS.

Chhotu Dada and K.K Goswami are among other short-statured actors who have braved the tough path of surviving in the industry of dreams and admit that it has not been a cakewalk.

Goswami, who currently stars on TV soap “Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat”, said: “Everybody has to struggle in this industry, but for people like me who are short, it is 10 times tougher to get work.”

These artists will pour their hearts out on television show “Zindagi Live”, to be aired on IBN 7 Sunday at 8 p.m.

Subjected to discrimination because of their aberrant height, they often become victims of bullying, they said.

Lilliput, who has acted in various films and even written super hit sitcom “Dekh Bhai Dekh”, maintains that dwarf artists are only seen as comedians and most of the times are not considered for meatier roles.

“I always thought that I would be ready to do every kind of role because I am an artist. But, owing to my appearance and short stature, people never took me seriously.

“They thought that I would be only good for comedy. Basically, I am a very serious person, but people who are like me don’t have an option. I had to do what was offered to me because I had to feed my family. We don’t have the luxury to pick and choose roles,” said Lilliput.

The Hindi film industry is growing, but these artists with unnatural heights and a pool of talent don’t have a bright future as roles are drying up and not much is left for them to do.

Indravadan Jaishankar Purohit, popularly known as Chhotu Dada, the man behind the on-screen extra-terrestrial character of Jaadu in Hrithik Roshan starrer “Koi… Mil Gaya”, said whatever few comic roles that dwarf artists could manage in Bollywood in earlier days are not available now.

“Earlier, dwarfs were only given comic roles and that too not very substantial. Today, hero-heroines themselves do the comedy part so that has also been lost. If good opportunities are given to us then we can also prove our mettle. But the sad part is they don’t give us a chance,” he said.

Chhotu Dada has worked in more than 500 films in eight languages including a role in hit Hollywood film “Lord Of The Rings”. He played one of the Hobbits in the film.

No matter how hard they have tried, these artists have not been able to experiment or widen their horizons.

“I want to make a film and I also penned down a story, but the problem is that people can’t think beyond my appearance. They feel that a short man like me is not capable of doing anything,” shared Lilliput

Seconding the thought, Chhotu Dada said: “We were never given the kind of love we deserved. We are very sharp and intelligent.”

But they are not ready to give up.

“I came here to make it big. I wanted the same respect and appreciation that big stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan receive. My journey has just begun and the destination is very far off, but I have the confidence that I will do well,” said a determined Goswami.

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