Small screen, bug roles, extended serials and big name for artists — all these last only when the show is on. The episodes end...memories linger, but the stars vanish. They do not have lasting fame like the big screen artists. There are not many cases that a TV star ended as a popular film star. But the converse is true. A film star, yet makes it big on TV. Small screen success seldom finds a repeat in Bollywood. The world of films and TV can never merge.
By Somashukla Sinha Walunjkar
Sometimes magic can't be recreated. For small screen stars it is a feat next to impossible. Once they have won hearts living a screen character for weeks/months (and if lucky, may be years), and the show rolls off the air waves, they can seldom walk into another role and find acceptance with their audience.
Think Rajeev Khandelwal, Eijaz Khan, Sushant Singh Rajput, Karan Singh Grover, Harshad Chopra, Mishal Raheja and now Barun Sobti. Prime time television's hottest heartthrobs, who had an enviable fan following, were unacknowledged superstars of the soapbox, gave up on their shows when they (and even the show) were at the peak of popularity, and are waiting patiently to recreate that mass hysteria their sheer presence invoked once, without much success. Rajeev quit Ekta Kapoor's eponymous show Kahin To Hoga after “creative differences,” and was replaced by another model-actor. The show shut shop within months, and while Rajeev did go on to do a couple of TV soaps (Time Bomb and Left Right Left), hosted a reality show (Sach Ka Samna) and even made his debut in a critically acclaimed film (Aamir), but four years down the line, he's still looking for "good work", after delivering a couple of flops.
Eijaz Khan was unluckier. After Kavya Anjali wrapped up, Eijaz had hoped for a Bollywood career, only his debut film got shelved. A disheartened Eijaz played the baddie's side kick in a couple of south films, tried to make a half hearted attempt at a comeback in a show that tanked within weeks of airing.
Sushant, who was the utterly loveable Manav, the ideal son of Pavitra Rishta too quit his show because in his own words, he couldn't "identify" with the character any more after playing it for two years and needed a "break"! Of course he's pinning his hopes on Abhishek Kapoor's Kai Po Che, and has bagged a second lead role in Aamir Khan's PK, but superstardom is quite a pipe dream for now!
Karan aka KSG, did a yo-yo from Bollywood to TV, back and forth. After a not so memorable debut in Bhram, Delhi model-actor Karan cut his acting teeth in Parivar, Kasauti Zindagi Kay and then landed the male lead's role in Dill Mill Gayye, a youthful medical romance where he played Dr. Armaan Mallik. It was a show that catapulted Karan to dizzy heights of stardom overnight until he left the show one and half years later for a six month break (spent in trying a toehold in Bollywood films). When he returned, he was welcomed back by his fans, but by then Dill Mill Gayye had lost its spark and ended without even making much of an impact. Karan's back on television in Qubool Hai as the angry young biz man, earnestly trying to find his slot back.
Harshad, who was much loved as Prem (Kis Desh Mein Hai Mera Dil) and did his share of soaps (Tere Liye, Dharam Patni and Dil Se Di Dua...Saubhagyavati Bhav?) is still trying to find "creative highs" after being Prem. Mishal Raheja, who made Dattabhau's character in Lagi Tujh Se Lagan extremely popular left the show reportedly due to 'internal politics' on the sets. Shabbir Ahluwalia stepped in his shoes, but the show went off air soon enough. Mishal's currently "reading film scripts" and will talk about the details "once" he's "allowed" to (a popular line most actors use, which really means: he's still waiting to be signed, because no film is made under so much secrecy in Bollywood!).
The latest to join the list of hotties on a "break mode" is Barun Sobti. After he announced that he was planning a "longish break" from Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?, his millions of fans in a state of panic and heartbreak reportedly are deluging the production house and Star Plus with requests to retain the actor in the show and end it on a high note. May be, for Barun, being Arnav Singh Raizada, the loving brother, ruthless biz tycoon and man in love for one and half years isn't an easy job, because it means shooting 12-14 hours, but he needed to do a quick reality check too, because small screen success seldom finds a repeat in Bollywood.
Every superstar from TV who has left his signature show to pursue bigger dreams, had to either eat humble pie and return to the show, make creative compromises and play lead (if lucky) in a smaller show on a rival broadcast channel. Even Amar Upadhay, TV's biggest star at one time is still remembered only as Mihir.
Ronit Roy and Ram Kapoor, TV's biggest stars at the moment are finely balancing movies with TV, aware that the Hindi film industry is not receptive to TV stars, no matter how big their stature is. It's better to reign in television and be the king of hearts, than struggle for space in an industry where your pedigree or alliance to top camps decides your future. TV superstars have the power to make characters immortal, films give you a temporary high, and more importantly, there's only one Shah Rukh Khan and he made his debut in films, over two decades ago. The world of films and TV can never merge and each has its own charm and power. It is up to the actors to figure that out before they make professional mistakes!