When a much-loved character on a popular TV show dies, audiences grieve for him or her and when a villain is finally finished off, they rejoice. What about the actors who play the characters? How do they feel when they are shot or stabbed, and have to participate in a death scene or lie on a funeral pyre for the camera? Bhairavi Raichuria, who played Anandi’s mother Bhagwati in Colors’ Balika Vadhu, feels that “doing a death scene is like any other scene”. “Pyre scenes are tough on relatives and friends who feel it is too much. But I didn’t take it seriously, as I found the whole thing funny,” she says.
Memorable deaths on TV range from Balraj Singh Chaudhary (Raj Zutshi) being shot in the head on popular soap Madhubala recently to Ansh Virani’s (Aakash Deep Saigal) dramatic death scene in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi a few years ago. Also, one cannot forget how Mihir’s (Amar Upadhyay) death in the same show created such outrage that producer Ekta Kapoor had to bring him back from the dead.
The death of Rohit Khurana’s character, Vansh, in Uttaran was impactful too. It was one of the highest points of the show. “It was my first death scene. I was nervous about having to die convincingly. Death scenes take a lot of energy as you have to pretend to be unable to breathe or choke. My mom and grandma cried a lot after watching my death scene.”
However, Vineet Raina, whose character Prashant recently died in Zee’s Punar Vivaah, does not shoot funeral scenes as a rule. “In Mayaka, my earlier show, I had a funeral scene when my character (Veer) died, and my mom and dad got really disturbed.” Sometimes, the loss of a lovable character gets the same reaction as the loss of a real person. The audiences too get emotionally attached to them, which is why funeral scenes are used to evoke a response. Most shows kill or hint at the death of characters, but don’t show a dead body. This ensures that they have the option of bringing them back.
Producer Rajan Shahi, who shot a death scene in Star Plus’ Bidaai, feels such scenes are a necessity, for audiences and unit members alike. “We show marriages and festivals on TV, why not death? Actors spend more time on the sets than with their family. So when Sara’s (Khan) character Sadhana was killed, co-stars Angad (Hasija) and Alok (Nath) were actually crying since Sara was leaving the show. In reality, Sara had said goodbye to the unit. It felt like an actual death.”