Television actors and producers caught in a tussle

TV actors and producers are in talks to sign an MoU that aims at checking the problem of actors leaving the show mid-way in order to pursue their Bollywood dreams and other plum assignments

Actors abruptly quitting television shows in order to pursue their Bollywood dreams and other plum assignments is hardly unheard of. Recent instances include actor Barun Sobti who shot to fame with the serial 'Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon', but walked out of the show to do a film. With the lead actor opting out, the producer had to wind up the show immediately after he quit. Similarly, actress Rashmi Desai had quit 'Uttaran' only to come back to the show.

Rashmi Desai in 'Uttaran'
Rashmi Desai in 'Uttaran'

Such instances abound in the industry but if insiders are to be believed, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) -- to be signed between actors and TV show producers -- will change the rules of the game. Aimed at tackling the problem of actors quitting on a whim, this MoU will have a clause stipulating that the lead actor of the serial cannot leave the show for at least one year.

'Qubool Hain'
A still from 'Qubool Hain'

Not surprisingly, producers are welcoming this move. “The lead actor is the face of the show and he / she should be associated with the show right till the end,” says producer JD Majithia, while another producer cites the example of Karan Singh Grover recently quitting 'Qubool Hai'.

Ejaz Khan
Ejaz Khan

“The chemistry between the lead actors can't be replicated easily. It will take a while for the audiences to get used to Raqesh Vashisht, who has replaced Karan in the show,” adds the producer, who does not wish to be named.

A still from 'Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?'
A still from 'Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?'

Producers also say that actors playing key roles in the serials cannot unilaterally terminate their contracts unless agreed in writing by the producer. Rajan Shahi emphasises that actors should think of a show's longevity before making any decisions. “For instance, Krutika Kamra gave us enough time to wind up the show, 'Kuch Toh Log Kahenge'. But those who don’t do so should be banned. So many technicians and workers’ jobs are dependent on the fate of the show,” he says.

On the other hand, CINTAA, the actors’ body, is in no mood to agree to the clause, leading to a standoff between the two parties. “The proposed MoU has been uploaded on our website and most of the actors feel the need for an exit clause in their contracts. In addition to this, the actors also want their annual increments to be open to negotiations,” says Dharmesh Tiwari, General secretary, CINTAA.

Actor Ejaz Khan points out that exit clauses should be a must. “There should be a minimum of two months’ notice period, so the producer can make the required changes in the serial. Similarly, if a producer has signed an actor for 25 days, he should shoot with the latter for at least 15 days. This ensures that the actors’ dates don’t get wasted. Another issue is the late payment. Often we are paid after the show goes on air, and that is not fair either,” he says.

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