For people without any backing in the film industry, reality shows offer the best shot at Bollywood. Little wonder, then, that thousands of starry-eyed men and women, many of them from small towns, queue up for a chance to showcase their talent and make it big.
Sooraj Barjatya does the ‘clap’ for the mahurat shot of the movie Pyar hai To Kehdo Yes, with Piyush and the female winner Sabina Sheema, shortly after the show ended in 2007. The judges of the show that season were Anupam Kher, Madhur Bhandarkar and Pooja Bhatt
Piyush Chopra, from Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh, is one of those small town boys. He had landed in Mumbai and secured a spot in Zee Cinestars in 2007. The programme allegedly promised the winner a lead role in a movie, and that is what Piyush was aiming at.
Piyush Chopra with his trophy
Staving off some tough competition, Piyush managed to emerge as the winner and was the talk of television audiences across the nation for a while. Seven years on, however, he is still waiting for the promised role in the movie to materialise.
“Piyush was the winner of the second season of Zee Cinestars in 2007 and, as per their public declaration, Zee TV was bound to introduce him as a Lead Star in a Movie. The muhurat of the film Pyar Hai To Kehdo Yes was also done, but it was shelved after a few years as Zee was in no mood to make a movie featuring the winners of Zee Cinestars,” said a source close to Piyush. “I was shattered as Zee kept me hanging for over a year and a half before I was told that they did not have any plans of making a movie. As soon as I got to know that Zee is re-launching Cinestars, I decided to take legal action as the bitter memories started haunting me. Whatever happened with me should not be repeated with any other aspiring actor,” said Piyush.
“One of my main objectives is to highlight this issue and request the government to monitor and supervise talent contests and reality shows, so that all TV channels are bound by licence conditions to deliver on what they promise.
A clear government directive is the need of the hour as many channels make a lot of money from such shows, but do not fulfil the promises they make on TV and in their contract,” he added. The source said Piyush has filed a police complaint in his hometown and investigations are on.
The other side
When contacted, Pradeep Hejmadi, Business Head – ZEE TV, said the channel has not received any investigation notice from the police regarding the alleged complaint lodged by Piyush Chopra.
“We confirm that under an agreement dated January 22, 2007 (it expired in 2012) he was one of the 32 shortlisted candidates for our programme, Zee Cinestars. During the one-and-a-half years that he was associated with Zee, he was paid mutually agreed-upon amounts for his performance in Zee programmes.
It was also agreed by him that for opportunities with outside producers that Zee would secure for him, he would be liable to pay a certain commission to Zee. However, the company was not under any obligation to boost his acting career. Piyush’s allegations are baseless,” Hejmadi said in a statement.