Popular roles, myriad faces
It’s common to see lead actors being replaced in television shows. But when a new actor steps into a predecessor’s shoes, he has to deal with the cast as well as the character. Sharad Kelkar, who will play Dr Ashutosh after actor Mohnish Behl quit in Sony’s Kuch Toh Log Kahenge, says, “I am nervous, but such energy is good when you’re doing a new project as it helps you perform better.”
Mentioning that he’s friendly with co-actors Karan Wahi, Kritika Kamra and producer Rajan Shahi, he adds, “It will be easier for me to work with them as I won’t be a newbie on the set.”
Hiten Tejwani, who is settled well as Manav in Zee’s Pavitra Rishta after replacing Sushant Singh Rajput, claims, “Sushant had made Manav immensely popular and it was challenging to replace him. I approach any role as a new one, so it works better for me.” Hiten had to work hard to create chemistry with co-star Ankita Lokhande, who plays Archana in the show. It helped that he entered when the leads were estranged.
Hiten says, “Audiences could have liked or rejected me as Manav. But within a month, people were talking about our chemistry on-screen.” Ankita admits Hiten was the right choice. “He is a senior actor who knows how to get into the skin of a character.”
The story of Mihir from Star Plus’ Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi being replaced multiple times is legendary. Amar Upadhyay as young Mihir didn’t want to play dad, so Inder Kumar replaced him. Later, Ronit Roy stepped in. He found it tough to play an ongoing role, as opposed to a brand new one.
“Whether a replacement or not, the pressure exists to deliver in a role. I took on the character after a 20-year-old leap, playing a dad of grownup kids, so it was easier to fit in,” he says.