WHY CAN’T SUCCESSFUL TV STARS TRANSIT TO THE BIG SCREEN?by Monojit Lahiri August 1 2023, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins, 2 secs
Monojit Lahiri attempts a close-up at the question and figures the answer is yet to be found because the audience views actors of television differently from that of cinema.
“Filmmakers often judge TV actors. They have preconceived notions but, I feel, given a chance they can do very well in any medium.” Thus spoke Shivangi Joshi of the popular Balika Vadhu fame.
This, once again, got me thinking about a theme that has been discussed to death, with no real answers. Determined to hit that button I invited 3 eminent personalities to share their informed opinion…so here goes.
Opening the innings was respected veteran Joyoshree Arora, Radio, TV and Film, one of the central characters in the show that pioneered the serial movement in India - Humlog! Articulate and active, Arora believes that they are two different mediums and to adapt and adjust is the key. “Also, filmmakers tend to often cast TV stars on the basis of their monster popularity and the star seems to also get carried away and buy into this process. Result? A resounding flop! Be it Amar Upadhya, Mihir was a craze in Kyunki Saas Bhi, and Abhinav Chatruvedi, Nannhe was universally adored by one and all in Humlog, amongst tons of others, they were giant steps in the wrong direction! With very few exceptions (can we please not for the zillionth time return to SRK and Fauji?!) no talented, popular TV star has ever made a real mark on the big screen. Now despite OTT coming on, with amazing content and a range of actors, this syndrome continues. Pankaj Tripathi may be loved and admired but can he pull a film with his acting prowess and ensure a healthy ROI?”
Veteran director Vinod Pande is next. The maker of ground-breaking serials like Reporter and Air Hostess, and films like Ek Baar Phir and Yeh Nazdikian, categorically believes a glorious opportunity to promote gifted TV actors, and thus give confidence to production houses and mainstream filmmakers to cast them in meaningful roles, was lost by the media. “It appears, barring exceptions, that they are more interested in names making it big (flavor-of-the-day-stuff) and focusing on themes with a conventionally hat-ke slant. Nuanced acting or subjects with esoteric layers, and reading between the lines, demand both interest and knowledge. So…sad but true. Result? Gifted TV/parallel film actors and directors are accorded short shifts and totally ignored, dismissed, and dumped. It is ironic to remember how most of our so-called critics have strayed from the Big Mama of American critics, Pauline Kael's definition of a real critic. “He is a good critic if he helps people understand more about the work than they could see for themselves. He is a bad critic if he does not awaken the curiosity, enlarge the interest and understanding of his audience.”
Adman, Theatre and Screen Actor Bharat Dabolkar winds up the debate with a knockout punch! “Boss, they are two different planets and the twain can never meet!” A successful and experienced Stage, TV and screen actor, he offers his educated insights. “Films and big screens are about solid escapism and fantasyville, with macho, larger-than-life, dashing themes…with swag and glamorous sexy heroines doing their thing designed to enthrall an audience-base begging for more. Of course, with the times, and OTT eating into the psyche of intelligentsia, and introducing them to fresh, exciting content/actors, the earlier brand of bhed-chaal and anything goes is over. Smartly scripted, well cast and excellent content has to be the order of the day…but STARS are STARS. They can never be replaced by even the finest of TV actors. Why? Because they lack the 3 most critical and defining qualities that are magnets of the audience: aura, glamour and charisma! TV stars are ghar ki murgi; they are like members of our family, known and loved and we participate in their life and times every day till the web/serial is on, sharing every single emotion that powers the storyline. During the existence of the serial, the actors’ popularity is humongous and he/she is regularly mobbed, feted and celebrated across every available platform. Once the show is over however, they are dismissed from popular memory with frightening speed! Film stars are a different breed and whether aged or retired, they hold a kind of attention magnet that no TV actor can hope to match.”
Two examples. Very recently yesteryear star Dharmendra’s grandson got married to the late Bimal Roy’s great-granddaughter, and boy did the media go to town?! Also, as this goes into print, news arrives that SRK’s next two releases have already got offers from OTT platforms of rupees 500 crores plus!!
Your view, esteemed readers.