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Small screen, big dreams

The line between films and television is blurring, but TV stars are weighing their options carefully before making the big leap.

india Updated: Jul 08, 2006 18:14 IST

The line between films and television is blurring but TV stars are weighing their options carefully before making the big leap to films

While Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘stepping down to TV’ with Kaun Banega Crorepati made it cool for film stars to work on the small screen (the logic being, ‘If he can do it, so can we!’) the same can’t be said about TV stars striking gold on the big screen.

A popular TV actor has always been reduced to being a second or third fiddle to his big screen counterpart.                                                                        

An Aman Verma, Amarr Upadhyay or Rohit Roy, despite their chocolate-box looks, have never really got the chance to translate their success on the tube to celluloid. We have all heard and read of how Upadhyay burnt his fingers by leaving his big ticket TV show Kyunki…Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu for a career in films only to see all his hopes come crashing down at the box-office.

Yet, every small screen actor feels that the 70 mm screen is where all the magic is. For how long can you play the same type of character over and over again on television? Besides, the stardom that comes with being a film star is many times the adulation a TV star gets.

But again, just as film stars have realised the importance of keeping the ‘working on TV at a later time’ option open (wasn’t it TV which gave Amrita Singh much-needed succour when her personal life went haywire?                                                    

Rohit Roy, who’s done bit roles in films like Sanjay Gupta’s Plan is gung-ho about working with Gupta again.

And we have all seen the Shekhar Suman small screen success story), TV stars have also realised the folly of forsaking their lucrative careers in pursuit of big screen glory at the slightest impulse. So now our telly stars jump the wagon only for a big banner opportunity with a leading star cast, and a decent role.

We remember an extremely choosy TV actress once telling us, “It’s so humiliating to sit in a film producer’s office. He doesn’t even acknowledge the work you have done on TV. Even if he is aware of who you are, he expects you to take crumbs for a role in a film. I mean, that’s just not done.”

Actors like Sanjit Bedi (he featured in Pooja Bhatt’s dud, Holiday), Anuj Saxena (his debut film Lips is still to be sealed and delivered), and Nausheen Ali Sardar — the latter two who tasted success with their serial Kkusum  — are yet to fulfil their bada parda dreams.

Rohit Roy, who’s done bit roles in films like Sanjay Gupta’s Plan is gung-ho about working with Gupta again. And if his claims are anything to go by he seems to have a good role in the new film.

He says, “Films are where my future lies and right now, my stars seem to be favouring me.” Yet he’s not given up on TV completely for he thrives on being the poster boy of TV with serials like Viraasat.

Anuj Saxena's debut film Lips is still to be sealed and delivered.

Says a reputed TV producer, “Every actor dreams of being a film star some day but not every body is fortunate to land that dream role or replicate their success in films.

Some TV stars just forsake their careers for that elusive film role and then have to eat their own words and come back to TV. TV is like a mother…she forgives and forgets and treats every body equally.”                                               

Another actor on the condition of anonymity says, “What’s wrong if I want to do a film? Agreed, my experi ence on TV or any number of lead roles I have done in serials do not guarantee me a lead role in a film but then at least I have the satisfaction of knowing that I tried.

Besides, I think the line between the small and big screen is blurring. Even big film stars today keep their options open about working on TV. And since I have age on my side, I can afford to try.”

Interestingly, most TV actors today are intelligent enough to weigh their options carefully and completely before signing on the dotted line for a film. TV actor Nikhil Arya had once said, “I am just not interested in doing a B or C-grade film. I have achieved a certain amount of success and reputation on the small screen. I can’t blow it all up by doing something insignificant.”

Saxena who wants to produce and act in more films is realistic when he says, “I know that not every TV actor has been lucky with films but this is a risk I’m willing to take. In the film industry, it doesn’t matter how big a TV star you are because to them you are slotted as a TV actor."

"Most of them have not even watched your work. They also ask why they should spend crores on you when the audience can watch you free of cost in their living rooms? Also, they don’t take you seriously unless and until you are prepared to give up TV for films."

"But all said and done, films are larger than life and give you your own identity.” And then there are some actors like Divya Dutta and Mohnish Behl who juggle both film and TV careers with ease and have the best of both the worlds. Dutta has a slew of films coming up and she’s also basking in the success of Shanno Ki Shaadi on Star Plus.

Finally, we guess both film and TV stars have realised one thing: while angling for a film role may be an attractive career option, losing all that TV has given them is a choice they don’t want to make in haste.

(With inputs from Princy Jain)