Sure, Shah Rukh Khan did it in 1992. But ever since the turn of the century and the onset of saas-bahu soaps, hardly any television actor has made a successful transition from small screen to the big. Until now, that is. With Sushant Singh Rajput’s super-successful debut in Kai Po Che, the jinx has finally broken.
Popular TV actor Hussain Kuwajerwala, who’ll make his Bollywood debut with Shree this week, is also happy with the new trend. “TV actors are being accepted in movies now. This is very good for us. Earlier, there was an apprehension that TV actors won’t do well in movies because they get far too exposed already. Thankfully, that perception has changed. Earlier, the success ratio was not so good. But that has changed, especially after Rajeev Khandelwal made the switch to films from TV.”
Rajput played the proverbial good boy in Ekta Kapoor’s Pavitra Rishta till films came along. And, Rajput is not the only poster boy of this change. Ram Kapoor, who has been part of many telly soaps, has been bagging films with the biggest banners in Bollywood — he played the the ‘Dad’ in YRF’s Mere Dad Ki Maruti, and had a meaty role in Karan Johar’s Student Of The Year.
Experts say this new trend is a reflection of better talent on the tube, and more accepting and mature audiences. “It’s all about talent. If you’re a talented actor, filmmakers will cast you, that’s the bottomline,” says filmmaker Kunal Kohli. Trade analyst Taran Adarsh seconds that. “TV actors are very talented. But there was this perception that they are not good actors. That has changed. Moreover, audience want to watch good cinema.”
Hussain adds that the change can also be partly attributed to filmmakers scouting for talent and not stars these days. “New-age directors have also changed their mindset — they cast actors based on roles, not star value.”
Hit on TV, not in Bollywood
Amar Upadhyay: Amar became a household name as Mihir Virani in the hit TV show, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. Soon, he ventured into films with Dahshat and Dhund - The Fog (2003). But after a string of flops, he returned to TV and was last seen in Bigg Boss 5.
Aamna Sharif: She was a big star on TV thanks to her lead role in popular telly show, Kahiin To Hoga. Eventually, Aamna made her film debut with Aloo Chaat (2009) and later did Aao Wish Karein. But both films flopped and Aamna went back to TV and did Hongey Judaa Na Hum in 2013.