Friday, 30 November 2012

Barun redefines TV stardom

It's got to be a first. Television heartthrob Barun Sobti (who had earlier done two immensely forgettable shows as lead and a cameo appearance before he struck gold with his current soapy outing) might have underestimated his importance when he put down his papers to chase Bollywood dreams, but his fans have collectively ensured that they are not going to tolerate any replacement/new track in his absence.

Amid speculations about the nature of his 'longish' break and reports of his death scene in his signature show, Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon? which was supposed to go on air this week that sent his fanbase into a frantic frenzy of bombarding Star Plus with phone calls/smses and emails asking him either to be retained or end the show, the broadcaster finally pulled the plug on the 18 month old show that is now expected to wrap up on its 398 thepisode to be telecast on November 30. Thanks to the volatile reactions from the audience, a significant chunk of whom are based overseas and subscribe to the channel at a high premium, for the first time a leading Hindi general entertainment channel had to issue statements citing the reasons for the abrupt end of the show and even ran a disclaimer ticker during the showtime explaining the same.

It's not the first time that a lead actor has quit a show for greener pastures or creative differences, with the production house. Amar Upadhay (Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi), Rajeev Khandelwal (Kahin Toh Hoga) , Karan Singh Grover (Dill Mill Gayye), Cezanne Khan (Kasauti Zindagi Kay), Iqbal Khan (Karam Apna Apna), Sara Khan (Sapna Babul Ka... Bidaai), Rati Pandey (Miley Jab Hum Tum), ( Mishal Raheja (Lagi Tujhse Lagan) and Sushant Singh Rajput (Pavitra Rishta) have done the same in the past, leading the producers to find new leads/introduce new tracks.

The legion of quitting stars now includes: Shivaji Satam who's quit CID, a show with which he was synonymous for 15 long years, Ankita Lokhande has quit Pavitra Rishta, but the show goes on with a time leap, Harhad Chopra and Sriti Jha, the leads of Dil Se Di Dua...Saubhagyavati Bhavo? departed from the show, making room for new characters, Pawan Shankar the lead of Kya Hua Tera Vada has also reportedly expressed his desire to quit his show, post a time leap. The two female leads of Dil Dosti Dance, Sneha Kapoor and Mukti Mohan left their show and the production house has since introduced new characters/story lines.

TV stars quitting their shows is not exactly a new occurance in the world of Hindi general entertainment channels and audiences have either switched channels or got used to the replacements/new tracks over a period of time. In some instances, the lead's departure has led to the show's dipping TRPs and dwindling viewership and eventual closure. But the deluge of fan mail/phone calls made the channel realize that it would be pointless to run a show that banked heavily on the starry charisma of Barun Sobti and his scorching screen chemistry with Sanaya Irani which might not be easily replicated. The collective power of fans has for the first time resulted in a show's abrupt end, because the male lead who is currently "holidaying in the UK" is unavailable for the last day of shoots. In fact, for the first time in years, a TV actor's meteoric rise to stardom has made a channel rethink its programming (the replacement show, Kali reportedly wasn't originally slotted for the 8 pm band and it was Sanjay Leela Bhansali's show which was expected to replace IPKKND) and make changes to accommodate fans' demands, keeping in mind that the consumer is king and needs to be kept happy.

A savvies star would automatically make the most of his successful connect to his audience and leverage his career to an advantageous slot (his fans are already demanding for a second season of IPKKND with a new production, a new show with Sanaya as a costar and even asking the channel to let him host Nach Baliye 5!) . One doesn't know whether he'll have a hugely successful career in films or not (given the track record of his small screen predecessors who've made that move, seems unlikely), but Barun might now seriously think of cutting that 'longish break' short, and make the most of his stardom, by signing up some show. In the ruthless world of showbiz, even the biggest stars fade into nothingness when they are away from public memory. And the list of TV superstars of yesterday waiting for their next big role is a pretty massive one!


Post a Comment