2011 has indicated that TV is no longer the poor country cousin of films. Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt and the picky Aamir Khan (his TV debut will happen in 2012) are recent additions to the tribe of film stars who have their vanity vans parked outside TV studios.
Now, this list covers every major long-established male star in the country, including Shah Rukh, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan and Amitabh Bachchan. "Big filmstars are coming to TV, and this has helped it gain respectability," observes TV doyen Archana Puran Singh ('Comedy Circus').
A regular paycheck is a major attraction in television. Veteran eyeball grabbers -- Ram Kapoor, Saakshi Tanwar, Mohnish Behl, Shweta Tiwari, Hiten Tejwani and Rajeev Khandelwal -- continue to swear by television for their bread, butter, and jam too. And Ekta Kapoor, now an established film producer, still devotes considerable energy to Balaji Telefilms which gives her golden eggs like Bade Achhe Lagte Hai and Pavitra Rishta.
The advent of satellite dish television is expected to unleash a further boom. "In 2012, channels will depend less on advertisers and more on household subscriptions," Singh predicts. "Thanks to intense competition and the desire to reach every household, quality programmes will be made. Consequently, big money will be pumped into television in the next two years and TRP earners will be paid very well."
With Anil Kapoor eschewing the usual reality shows and instead producing and starring in the big-budget Indian version of the espionage-themed '24', TV will not be labelled the 'small screen' in 2012.
Earlier, strugglers would seek work in a Sunny Deol film because his immense popularity in the interiors helped them reach new markets. Today, we have television to do that job. It has got me into remote corners of all the states. TV is not a waiting station for big screen aspirants; on the contrary, it is a great platform. I am from a non-filmy background so initially when I knocked on film producers' doors, they did not entertain me. But TV has done the magic. Right now, I am looking at films but if something great comes my way on TV, I will accept it. Considering the reach TV can boast of, why not?"
-- Mishal Raheja (famous as Duttabhau of Laagi Tujhse Lagan)