Shailesh Kapoor: Death Of The ‘Television Star’

26 Jul,2013

By Shailesh Kapoor

 

Sangeeta Ghosh, one of the several television stars from the golden era of Star Plus, is back on the telly, in a new Sony show titled Jee Le Zara. In the well-executed launch promo, her refreshing presence creates an unmistakable appeal for the audiences. Ghosh was not one of the biggest icons from the last decade, but she was, and remains, a star in her own right. And her stardom shines through the promo.

 

But that can’t be said about dozens of other serials that launch every year. Many feature newcomers anyway, but even actors in their second and third serials don’t have a presence that makes them the centerpiece of the communication, and eventually the show.

 

The last decade was very different. A slew of TV stars emerged as strong real-life personalities, with their appeal going beyond just their character or their programme. This long list includes Smriti Irani, Sakshi Tanwar, Rajeev Khandelwal, Ram Kapoor, Ronit Roy and Urvashi Dholakia, amongst others. They may still be known by their character names, but their appeal extends well beyond that tag.

 

For the newer lot, their character remains their only identity. Even after doing three shows, some TV actors of today don’t bring even a hint of stardom with them. They are just workhorses who have learnt to play their roles and balance endless working hours in a grueling job.

 

There are exceptions, none less than Drashti Dhami (Geet, now Madhubala), but only far and few in between. Everybody else is a part of a nondescript crowd, where replacing an actor is only a matter of picking another one from the crowd.

 

Have we then seen the death of the television star in the last 5-6 years? Evidently yes. And as the 2000-2005 generation stars grow older, we may have a genuine dearth of “personalities” and “stars” on our television.

 

What led to this? The analysis is not evident, and there are at least two hypotheses I could come up with, which I understand may not be exhaustive. One, it could be about the daily show grind. When Kyunkii and Kahani first started in 2000, daily serials were a relatively virgin idea in India. Actors probably saw them as a creative challenge. The crew was largely from weekly shows and hence operated out of that mindset.

 

Over time, the mindset seems to have changed to a quick-fix, let’s-get-the-episode-out daily show mindset. The creative challenge is now being found elsewhere, in shows like Nach Baliye and Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, than in the main acting role itself. Being on the sets everyday is not fun anymore. The rising number of health issues being reported from the industry hold testimony to this change.

 

Second, I believe most actors in the 2000-2005 period had better training than their counterparts today. Whether the training came through theatre or acting schools, they just seemed more prepared. Today, we literally see young, college kids landing up lead roles. Perhaps, casting has become more about looks and a basic level of dialogue delivery, than about the search for a potential star.

 

Whatever be the genesis, we have a real issue at hand. What’s needed is casting vision, something with Balaji Telefilms managed to display admirably in the 2000s. Otherwise, we may have an almost star-less television industry five years from now!

 

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

 

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2 responses to “Shailesh Kapoor: Death Of The ‘Television Star’”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Do agree with the thoughts expressed…TV has come a long way …what it used to be in 2000s…People still remember the names of characters & actors playing them ….which were aired back then…but today, if a show is pulled off air & actor isn’t quick enough to sign his/her next project soon….audience doesn’t take much time to forget…& its mainly because of too much channels, too much of shows….

    Today shows are being focussed more on TRPs instead of focussing on content & script…thats the main reason within 4 months of launching a show, channels dont blink before pulling off the shows….

    & Yes, the casting in shows need to be more on the acting potential of an actor & not just the good looks…at the end of the day an actor shud be convincing enough in potrayal of his/her character.

    Nowadays, More than daily soaps its reality shows crowding the GECs…which also has now become too repitative…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Do agree with the thoughts expressed…TV has come a long way …what it used to be in 2000s…People still remember the names of characters & actors playing them ….which were aired back then…but today, if a show is pulled off air & actor isn’t quick enough to sign his/her next project soon….audience doesn’t take much time to forget…& its mainly because of too much channels, too much of shows….

    Today shows are being focussed more on TRPs instead of focussing on content & script…thats the main reason within 4 months of launching a show, channels dont blink before pulling off the shows….

    & Yes, the casting in shows need to be more on the acting potential of an actor & not just the good looks…at the end of the day an actor shud be convincing enough in potrayal of his/her character.

    Nowadays, More than daily soaps its reality shows crowding the GECs…which also has now become too repitative…

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