Actress-director Nandita Das says it doesn't take long for actors to get stereotyped and so, she empathises with those "stars" who refused to play the second lead in her upcoming directorial "Manto".
Nandita had earlier said that it wasn't a piece of cake to finalise the cast of "Manto", which she describes as "totally a labour of love".
She had presumed that there will be "young charming actors" in abundance to play Manto's closest friend Shyam in the movie, but she says "all stars" whom she approached said "no" for the fear of looking like a second lead.
Asked about it, Nandita told IANS over phone from Mumbai: "They (actors) also have pressures. They feel 'Oh, I will be seen as the second lead.' I'm happy with the person whom we have found. It's not about being the second lead. That character is very crucial in the film. The story is always bigger than one role."
"We (actors) have challenges of working in our industry. There is a certain perception. I understand and I empathise with them. If you play the second lead, you are branded as that. If somebody plays a villain, you are branded as that. You do certain kind of roles, and then you get immediately stereotyped."
Nawazuddin Siddiqui essays the role of Saadat Hasan Manto in the film, which is based on the late Urdu short story writer. The latest one to join the film's cast is Chandan Roy Sanyal, known for movies like "Kaminey" and "D-Day".
So, is Chandan playing Shyam in the period drama?
"Chandan is not playing Shyam. That is an assumption. He is paying another writer. The name of the actor who is playing Shyam will be revealed soon," said Nandita, whose "Between The Lines" was one of the first CinePlays, a new storytelling format, to go live on Hotstar -- a video-on-demand app -- earlier this month.
"Manto" will go on floors from March 15.