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Small Screen’s Big Dreams

With Indian cinema more in awe of talent than of star value,TV actors find a new foothold in films.

Written by PriyankaPereira |
October 5, 2012 2:06:39 am

With Indian cinema more in awe of talent than of star value,TV actors find a new foothold in films.

When Vicky Donor released in theatres earlier this year,the interest around the movie was not very high. However,a strong script backed by good execution,made the film a superhit and its lead actor — Ayushman Khurrana — a household name. Khurrana was a popular host on television,but not many expected him to fit into the Bollywood mould. Vicky Donor changed that. Khurrana is now cast in director Rohan Sippy’s next with Kunaal Roy Kapur. “Television and films are not completely different entities any more. The focus on content rather than just star value has resulted in actors from other mediums,such as television,bag a chance,” Khurrana reasons.

Unlike Khurrana,fellow television actor Pulkit Samrat’s big screen debut Bittoo Boss tanked at the box-office. But Samrat was appreciated for his acting skills. Soon after,Excel Entertainment signed him for their upcoming film,Fukhrey,opposite Richa Chaddha.

After Khurrana and Samrat met with success,several television actors followed suit. Rrehan Malik, who was earlier seen on television’s popular serial Sanjeevani,debuts opposite Preity Zinta in Ishq In Paris. Barun Sobti,who is known for his intense role in Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?,will soon be seen in a film titled Main aur Mr Right. Kuch Toh Log Kahenge’s Dr Ashutosh,Sharad Kelkar has bagged a meaty role in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram Leela. Sushant Singh Rajput,who became famous for his role in Zee TV’s Pavitra Rishta,will be seen in Abhishek Kapoor’s Kai Po Che along with another TV actor,Amit Sadh. Rajput will also be seen in Rajkumar Hirani’s PK,which has Aamir Khan as the lead actor. “Today,it doesn’t matter where the actors come from. As long as they are talented or have screen presence,” says Prem Raj,director of Ishq in Paris.

In the past,several television actors have tried their hand at movies,but not many have succeeded. Shah Rukh Khan and Vidya Balan are two instances of television being a launchpad for Bollywood stardom. Gracy Singh and Prachi Desai delivered hits with their first films,Lagaan and Rock On!!! respectively. However,they faded away soon after. Films with actors such as Amar Upadhyay,Yash Tonk and Eijaz Khan sank without a trace.

So,what’s working in favour of the current crop of television actors? Mrigdeep Singh Lamba,director of Fukhrey,says,“The main reason for this is the kind of cinema that is being made now. Bollywood is not just about pretty faces and exotic locales. Content and actors enjoy a lot of importance now.” According to Prem Raj,as the industry is growing at a rapid pace,there is place for everyone.

Television has a wide reach today. Actors have an easy connect with the audiences and also an established fanbase. Sobti,who is extremely popular for his role in Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon,believes his stint in television is one of the biggest reasons he bagged a film offer. “I was called to audition because they had seen my work on television,” he says. Similarly,Samrat became famous for his role of Lakshya in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. “Most people recognise me even now and are curious about the kind of work I am doing,” he says. This has not only given the actors the much-needed confidence but also has big banners show faith in them.

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