Shailesh Kapoor: Riteish Deshmukh over Hrithik Roshan: It happens only on TV!

03 May,2013

By Shailesh Kapoor


He’s one of the biggest stars in Hindi cinema for more than a decade now. He gave a huge hit (Agneepath) in 2012, and come Diwali 2013, he will make the cash registers ring with Krrish 3. Yet, when Hrithik Roshan made his television debut in 2011, success eluded him.


On the face of it, there can’t be a better judge on a dance reality show. Hrithik Roshan has redefined mainstream Bollywood dancing in more ways than one, and is one of the reasons dance began to gain popularity across the country, even before Dance India Dance came into existence.


In a recent Twitter poll conducted by Ormax Media on favourite Bollywood dance numbers, Hrithik Roshan’s songs swept the Top 4 spots! It is only apt that Star Plus pitched him as the big idea behind Just Dance. The show, however, failed to achieve even a fraction of Hrithik’s Bollywood success, languishing in the 2-2.5 TVR range for most part.


Riteish Deshmukh has none of Hrithik’s star power or charisma. When it comes to Hindi cinema, they are not even in the same vicinity. Riteish is one of the several second-line heroes trying to make their mark via multi-starrer films. He does not feature in the Top 25 stars in Hindi cinema, as per Ormax Stars India Loves. His comic timing has been appreciated in a few films, but there’s little else he has to offer for cine-goers.


When I first came to know Star Plus had signed Riteish for their new show India’s Dancing Superstar, I struggled to make sense of the information. Riteish is, at best, a no-offence dancer. For him to judge a dance show seemed more like a “budget choice” than a convincing one.


I don’t know how and why the channel stumbled upon Riteish Deshmukh for the show. But when I watched the first week’s content, I couldn’t believe the consummate ease this “non-dancer”, “non-superstar” displayed. He has none of Hrithik’s qualities, yet Riteish Deshmukh is clearly the more enjoyable, more likeable dance reality show judge between the two!


Many TV executives continue to quote parallels from Hindi cinema at the slightest excuse. If you ever need to kill the argument that you can use films to explain anything in the television business, this Hrithik vs. Riteish comparison does that effortlessly.


Though the show is only a week old, it seems certain that Riteish’s simplicity and spontaneity will find favour amongst the audience. His kind of ‘human touch’ works wonders on television; it literally melts the distance between the viewer and the celebrity, while they watch him on the show. For that hour, the celebrity becomes one of them, almost like a family member.


Cinema is supposed to achieve the exact opposite. It is supposed to put the hero on a pedestal, so that you can only hope to touch him, never quite managing to succeed in the attempt. Very few like Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan have managed to make the transition from aspiration to relatability, in their journey from the big screen to the small screen. For others like Hrithik Roshan, the trappings of superstardom have been too limiting for their own good.


Riteish Deshmukh is certainly not aspirational. On television, that’s his biggest differentiator. Only time will tell whether India’s Dancing Superstar will deliver viewership numbers higher than Just Dance. But at probably less than 20% of the latter’s talent cost, it is already the more profitable of the two shows. And dare I say, by far the better one too, both in terms of the content and the jury.


Shailesh Kapoor is founder and CEO of media insights firm Ormax Media. He spent nine years in the television industry before turning entrepreneur. He can be reached at his Twitter handle @shaileshkapoor


Post a Comment 

One response to “Shailesh Kapoor: Riteish Deshmukh over Hrithik Roshan: It happens only on TV!”

  1. Akky says:

    How can you compare these two actors?
    They are Miles apart.
    Hrithik appeared only on Weekend episodes of Just Dance. While Riteish is part of every Episode of his show.

Today's Top Stories