No longer the idiot box
More and more television actors are being roped in by producers to star in Bollywood films. And it's not just moolah that matters...
The industry is going through a period of transition where concept-driven films are doing well at the box office. These films not only get critical acclaim but are also proving to be winners at the cash registers. The latest examples being Vicky Donor, Kahaani, Gangs of Wasseypur and Kai Po Che.
However, the most interesting part of all these films are its actors. Most of the actors are newcomers and are being launched with these films. A vital part of the making is to keep the budgets of these films as minimum as possible. With budgets being kept under check, the requirement to cast new boys in lead roles has increased manifolds. No wonder that filmmakers today are looking to cast popular boys from the TV industry.
Three actors who made it
Rajeev Khandelwal: Made it big with his debut film Aamir. After a brief lull is back with Table No 21. Regarded as a thinking actor.
Ayushmann Khurrana: Hit the bull’s eye with Vicky Donor. Has signed a big ticket YRF film with Sonam Kapoor and has a film with Rohan Sippy releasing next.
Sushant Singh Rajput: Became an overnight sensation even before Kai Po Che released, has an YRF and a Rajkumar Hirani film in the pipeline.
Better than the rest?
In the past too, some actors have made the successful leap from the small screen to celluloid. While some became superstars, the others carved their niche in the industry, the most successful examples being Shah Rukh Khan, R Madhavan and Irrfan. But they have been very few and far in between. However in the last few years, several faces from TV have made a successful transition, with the likes of Rajeev Khandelwal, Ayushmann Khurrana and Sushant Singh Rajput. Even a flop like Bittoo Boss gave Pulkit Samrat the options to go out and sign some interesting films. Similarly, Amit Sadh, who had a small but significant role in Maximum and now with Kai Po Che, has managed to set himself up to do some interesting films in the future. In the meanwhile, a certain set of actors is also waiting to be launched and seem to offer great promise.
Could have made it
Aman Varma: One of the biggest TV stars but could not make the cut. Had made his big screen debut with Mahesh Manjrekar’s film but the film flopped and so did Aman.
Amar Upadhyay: Arguably the most popular TV actor ever, he was launched in an average Ramsay brother’s thriller and went on to do a couple of more films but never made it big.
Break ke baad
Filmmaker Vikram Bhatt who gives breaks to many newcomers says, “I think slowly the line between television actors and a movie star is blurring out because television has become such a powerful medium. Some TV stars are more popular than some film stars. In the absence of an A-lister in a film and instead of taking a rank newcomer, you opt for a popular television actor. You have a person who is known and at the same time you are introducing them to the big screen. And then there is a certain amount of popular fan base that the actor already commands.”
In the offing
Karan Kundra: has signed Vikram Bhatt’s forthcoming venture.
Manish Paul: has signed a film with Saurabh Varma and the Tere Bin Laden sequel.
Barun Sobti: has been shooting for two films.
Actor Amar Upadhyay, a popular face from the last decade states, “When I made my debut back in 2003 with Dhund: the Fog, the trend was very different. Television actors were not accepted and I was not presented well. The film was released in 2003 when India was progressing into the finals of the cricket World Cup. Today people are more open and accept actors as characters. Producers prefer TV actors as they have the experience of facing the camera, emote well and can be comfortable with their lines.”
A trade expert adds, “The biggest factor is that the TV actors come for a certain price that is affordable and they also have their own popularity.”
Waiting in the wings
Gurmeet Chowdhury: Has been a popular face after his TV shows Geet and Ramayan.
Vivian Dsena: Shot to fame with Pyaar Ki Ek Kahani and now Madhubala.
Karan Wahi: loved for his chocolate boy looks in remixes and Dill Mil Gaye.
Jai Bhanushali: Qayamat and Dance India Dance made him a household name.
Mohit Raina: Holds much promise as Shiv in Mahadev.