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There was a phase when new faces were favoured because it was felt only they could attract viewers, but now the makers have become intelligent and are casting actors according to the characters – Shweta Tiwari
The ratio of success actors of my era enjoyed (owing to the long run of serials) was higher than the ratio of success enjoyed by the newcomers - Ronit Roy
At the press conference organised for the launch of Sony's new show Parvarrish, Shweta Tiwari, in response to a query, declared that seasoned actors returning to TV in a big way is fast becoming a trend. We couldn't agree more. Granted that the small-screen is still dominated by heroes and heroines in the age-group of 18-24, at times even lower than that, but the fact is, a door has opened for actors above 30 to play lead roles. The credit goes to Bade Achhe Laggte Hai that brought back Ram Kapoor and Sakshi Tanwar in a big way. Close on its heels came Sameer Soni in Parichay followed by Mohnish Bahl in Kuch Toh Log Kahenge. Now we have Shweta Tiwari and Rupali Ganguly essaying central roles in Parvarrish alongwith Vivek Mushran and Vishal Singh respectively.
Interestingly, most of the above -mentioned actors have been around on the TV circuit doing different things but none could take them to their former peaks. For instance, before Bade Achhe..., Sakshi 'Parvati' Tanwar essayed a negative character in Balika Vadhu but that did not go down well with the viewers. She also hosted a few shows including a dance reality show but they were no great shakes. Now, it's as the simple, soft-spoken and straightforward Priya of Bade Achhe ...that Sakshi is back with a bang. Ditto her co-star Ram Kapoor who as the rich, middle-aged businessman possessing a healthy dose of self-deprecating humour, is winning brownie points. Before this, Ram hosted Rakhi Ka Swayamvar and even did a forgettable serial called Basera. But it took a Bade Achhe... to re-establish Ram as a name to reckon with after his outing as Jai Walia in Kasamh Se...
Mohnish Bahl, too, has been doing serials off and on after his popular doctor act in Sanjeevani on Star Plus but while a few like Devi that had Sakshi opposite him did fairly well, most didn't register high on the ratings chart. Not that Kuch Toh... is garnering great numbers either, but it is surely generating hype on account of it being an adaptation of the hugely-popular Pakistani serial Dhoop Kinarey and the unusual older man- younger girl love story with Mohnish playing the silent and brooding loverboy.
As for Shweta, she participated and won Bigg Boss a year ago and acted in a serial Jaane Kya Baat Hui, which many don't remember. Her serial Parvarrish–– Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi has just started and it's early days yet to gauge its performance, but the makers are resting heavily on Shweta to bring in the audience. Shweta herself has high hopes from the serial, though she is sure that it cannot recreate the magic or success of Kasauti Zindagi Kay. She, however, is happy that producers are experimenting with stories and bringing actors like her back into the fray. "There was a phase when only new faces were favoured because it was felt that only they could attract viewers, but now the makers have become intelligent and are casting actors according to the characters."
Agrees Rajan Shahi, who is currently producing Kuch Toh Log Kahenge, Havan and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, "I have always maintained a good balance between newcomers and established actors, but I agree that I have reached a saturation point as far as new actors are concerned. They all look the same, wear similar kind of jewellery and even the characters are more or less the same. Which is why I see the return of seasoned actors as a positive trend. They understand nuances and one need not resort to gimmicks or over-the-top drama. As a maker, it encourages me to explore certain kind of stories."
J.D. Majethia, who is producing Mrs Tendulkar with Deven Bhojani playing the title-role, avers that established actors make it easy to experiment with stories. He, however, feels that actors who have proved themselves were always around. "It was only for a couple of years that most of them had to be out of work because of recession. That is because they were demanding a high price. Now, the economy has changed and also the volume has increased. Earlier daily shows were Monday to Thursday but now they have been extended to Friday. So, it is possible to rope in these actors."
However, Ronit Roy who has managed to sail through the recession, survive the onslaught of new faces and yet remain on top of the game begs to differ. "I don't think the price factor matters. It is the popularity, the affability and the connect that the actor has with the viewer that makes all the difference. Yes, I agree that for a few years newcomers ruled, but on hindsight, the ratio of success actors of my era enjoyed (owing to the long run of serials) was higher than the ratio of success enjoyed by the newcomers. That's the main reason the seasoned actors are back in action." According to him, actors of a certain calibre guarantee a minimum rating, the celebrity-studded reality shows being a prime example.
Whether that holds true or not, serials like Bade Achhe … have given hope to a lot of 30-plus actors. "Instead of rushing in to play father or grandfather's role, or overexpose themselves with reality shows, now they can wait for a strong lead role and be the face of the show," says Shahi, who feels that with real and realistic stories being the order of the day the trend is here to stay. Needless to say, acceptability being the main criteria!
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