iconimg Saturday, September 05, 2015

Kavita Awaasthi, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 25, 2013
So far, we’ve heard of many leading actors from the small screen graduating to films. Now, the trend may be reversing. More than ever before, film actors are signing up for plum TV projects — and not just as hosts or participants in reality shows. Anil Kapoor’s desi remake of American TV show 24, which he is producing as well as acting in, goes on the floors today. Reportedly, Amitabh Bachchan will act in a show produced by his company, ABCL. Even Madhuri Dixit is touted to star in the Hindi remake of The Good Wife, another American hit. Clearly, the small screen isn’t that small anymore.

Commercial viability
Earlier, Karisma Kapoor, Raveena Tandon and Sridevi have acted in Karishma — The Miracles of Destiny (2003), Sahib Biwi Gulam  (2004) and Malini Iyer (2004) respectively, but none of these shows worked. It makes us wonder how viable these projects are. Anil claims he isn’t nervous or scared, “because I know what it entails. When I took on the Amercian 24, I was anxious as to how it would work. But now I am confident. The exposure is massive and films can’t give you that. But the canvas and scale is like a film, so I can say I’ll be shooting 24 films. It will be a game changer.”

Poonam Dhillon, who acted in Kittie Party (2002), feels it’s about the money. “The economics of the project will dictate whether big stars want to act in the show. TV is very gratifying due to its reach, so if they are getting huge amounts, they will do it. A few years ago, no one would imagine Mr Bachchan taking on a TV show,” she points out. Raveena agrees. “When I did a TV show, it was so lavish that it felt like shooting a film. I was paid a lot too — almost what I’d earn for four films. TV helps actors remain in people’s memories. Like it did in Hollywood, I see this idea taking off here too,” she says.

Not for mainstream
Film trade analyst Amod Mehra has another take. “For actors like Juhi Chawla, Raveena or Madhuri, TV shows are the second innings. They are past their prime, and TV is good, easy money. But no current mainstream actor will act in a TV show today,” he says. “Anil is an exception because he’s producing the show and will make money from it. As for Big B, we’ll have to wait and see.”

While reality TV shows remain popular with film stars, it’s to be seen whether they will fully embrace serials. For now, there’s a mix of cynics and those who believe in the concept.