Joined: 14 December 2009
In the frothy world of Hindi soaps, the female protagonist might have the spotlight and the storyline centred around her, but the male actors emerge as superstars, calling the shots when it comes to taking home lucrative pay cheques, bagging plum brand endorsements, tremendous fan following or even film roles.
Sample this: for the first time in recent history of Hindi prime time television, a leading broadcaster ran a disclaimer ticker (while the show was being aired) saying the channel was forced to shut down their show, Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon? because the male lead Barun Sobti had quit, implying that it was a one-man show and without his screen presence the audience would have summarily rejected any new track/hero that the production house had planned to introduce!
Ram Kapoor, reportedly considered the highest paid TV actor has his shooting dates accommodated for his film and ad commitments. When Gurmeet Choudhary agreed to do Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 5, his Punar Vivaah co-star had to make adjustments so that Gurmeet could shake a leg on the dance show.
In the TRP-tripping world of television, Ram Kapoor, Barun Sobti, Gurmeet Choudhary, Vivan D'sena, Karan Tacker, Karan Singh Grover, Siddharth Shukla and Karan Kundra bask in the glory of their superstardom, as the most wanted faces on the soapbox.
Gurmeet admits that earlier TV was a medium where women characters were stronger because of the story lines, "daily soaps now portray men as strong protagonists. Plus, women audiences like goodlooking male actors. Even the male audience follow these actors and their fitness and fashion fundas, making them huge stars."
Vivian confesses the fact that TV has a huge viewership in women making things smoother for the male stars. "Luckily for us, the audiences are changing and male stars are becoming more prominent."
In the past, small screen had its share of superstars in Arun Govil, Mukesh Khanna, Amar Upadhyay, Ronit Roy, Rohit Roy, Aman Verma and Rajeev Khandelwal who garnered tremendous popularity in their own way, but in an era dominated by microblogging/social networking sites, TV stars have a huger reach and a more devoted fanbase.
Even advertisers seem to have realized the importance of these stars and have roped them in prestigious brand endorsements. The big screen's courting these stars too €" Ram's already done cameos in Student of The Year, Agent Vinod and has a meaty role in the upcoming Mere Dad Ki Maruti, Gurmeet's playing the lead in a Punjabi film, Yaar Mera Rab Warga, Karan Kundra is playing the lead in Jatt Romantic, while Barun makes his debut in Bollywood with Main Aur Mr Right.
Agrees producer Sumeet Mittal, "Today some male actors have become the faces of the shows giving them significant screen time." Producer Rajan Shahi feels "male actors become very popular as women connect to them."
For leading ladies however, it is not easy to have the arclights shifted to a male actor. Says Pratyusha Banerjee, "Female protagonists are important on TV. In my show, there have been tracks without a male protagonist and they've worked."
It's another matter however, that the introduction of a new male lead in the form of Siddharth Shukla catapulted Balika Vadhu to new TRP highs some months ago and gave it an edge over other shows on the same time band!
Karan Tacker shares, "I feel male protagonists amp up the sex appeal of the shows. Most male characters are sketched in an aspirational way €"they are loving, caring and affectionate €"just what any average Indian girl wants in real life too."
While the jury is out on this one, it looks like the soapy sagas are currently tilted heavily in favour of the male stars.
Ram Kapoor has appeared in various TVCs
Appeared in films like Agent Vinod, Student of the Year and the upcoming Mere Dad Ki Maruti
Known for his towel dropping act in his last show, Karan has hosted various popular award shows and has Bollywood plans
Won Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 5
Debuting in the Punjabi Yaar Mera Ran Warga, also has Bollywood plans
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Voices on Male Casting Couch (Karan)
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