Does favouritism exist in TV industry? Actors such as Karanvir Bohra and Kamya Panjabi agree, say ‘100%’
After films and music, it seems that favouritism is rampant in the Indian TV industry as well. We talk to actors such as Sharad Malhotra, Kamya Panjabi, Mahhi Vij and more to know what goes on behind the scenes.Updated: Jul 16, 2020 18:54 IST
After the debate around nepotism and favouritism being rampant in the Hindi film and music industry gained momentum, it seems that even television has not been left untouched. We talked to a few popular names in the TV world, and what they revealed was rather surprising.
Actor Kamya Panjabi, 40, tells us that it’s practised quite openly, and many people have to suffer because of the preferential system. “It hasn’t happened with me, but I agree 100%, and I know about it. At a lot of places, it’s called being a channel’s favourite. This one person will be there, even if he or she gives problems, shoots only for eight hours, isn’t able to perform. Even if the entire unit has to suffer, or other actors are made to wait,” she says.
Saumya Tandon, who has been a part of showbiz since 2006, says that groupism and favouritism exist everywhere, including TV. But she adds that it’s not so pronounced as it’s in Bollywood. “That’s because the stakes aren’t that high. I still feel I’m not a TV insider because I hardly get into the politics of — I hardly party, never attend award functions unless I’m hosting. I feel the best feedback comes from the people and it should translate into better work opportunities, everything else is useless.”
More actors join the debate and agree. Debina Bonnerjee, known for shows such as Ramayan and Chidiya Ghar, says people need to take chances with actors, and not be limited in their choices.
“Sometimes, you give a very good audition, but certain channels won’t like it and you don’t know why. People have to take that chance. I never worked with proper GEC channels until last year, and they loved it, so did the audience. You’ve to give somebody a chance and then decide whether that person is capable or not,” she urges.
In fact, things get to such a point, that people around the ‘channel’s favourite’ begin to question their talent and worth.
Panjabi says, “If you want to become big, you’ve to be the channel’s favourite, and in films, the producers’ favourite. These things have taken other people into depression. They suddenly feel worthless that ‘We’ve to wait for 10 hours, and We don’t even get much money because we aren’t the favourite’. They’re the ones who agree to compromise and take pay cuts also.”
But being a ‘favourite’ can only take you so far, believes Karanvir Bohra. He admits favouritism exists, and he’s never been that person.
“Thankfully, production houses believed in me as an actor, and my characters did well. You’ve to set your own standards also. I’ve been around for a long time, and channels favourites have come and gone. I saw it happen in 2006. Yes, we all feel it’s not fair, and bullsh*t. But you don’t sit and cry about it, nothing comes easy, you’ve to work hard and smart,” says the 37-year-old.
Echoing the sentiment that talent takes you far in the entertainment industry, Mahhi Vij concurs that some actors get better treatment than others. But she argues that it happens in other industries as well.
“If I’m not considered for a role, somebody else gets it, even if I auditioned for it to the T. That’s okay. They might get chances because of favouritism, but if it doesn’t connect with the audience, the show will get wrapped up. Favouritism ka achaar daaloge?,” she questions.
Sharad Malhotra calls for a level playing field for everyone, irrespective of them being an insider or outsider or their favourite status. “Maidaan dono ko same do, phir dekho kaun zyaada unchi chhalaang laga sakta hai. You can’t hinder someone’s chances — that will be unhealthy and venomous — you can’t do that or stop anybody's growth. That’s not how we function. When someone calls me saying ‘aapke liye role nahi hai, aapka koi bhai ya dost hai’, I personally call up my friends or other people. Any kind of insecurity shouldn’t be there,” he opines.
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