“No actor is bigger than the show!”

Makers share their experiences

“Television is the most convenient and loyal medium of entertainment. No matter what, it remains with you throughout” says Creative Head of Balaji Telefilms, Sandiip Sickand.
The audience that TV entertains, lives and grows with its stories and characters. We all co-relate to ‘Ishi Maa’ or ‘Jethalal’ in some way or the other. These characters have indulged as an integral part of viewer’s day to day life and the faces attached to these characters are praised, loved, followed and worshiped by the fans.
No wonder, television is said to be an actor’s medium. But, is it just the actor who puts life into a character? The question remains, is it Divyanka Tripathi Dahiya who people love or is it the character of ‘Ishi Maa’? The contribution and hard work that an actor puts in to add life to a written script cannot be taken away from them ever; but can they grow bigger than the character they portray?
Leads and actors walking out of shows is not an alien concept to anyone and unfortunately, there have been many such incidents in a number of shows lately where the most adored actors have left the show. The reason to step down from a character that has given them all the recognition as an artist could vary and indeed it need not be negative. Creative saturation is completely understandable. But inevitably such instances lay pressure on the makers to restore the charm and continue to keep their audiences hooked to the story.
One such storm happened when TRP topper, Star Plus’ Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata hai had both its leads leaving the show. Amidst all the stir that it created, the creator of the show, Rajan Sahi (Director’s Kut), who has nurtured Yeh Rishta… for almost a decade now had a huge challenge to turn around things for the show.
“In a show, content is the king. Audiences relate to emotions that we want to convey, the stories we tell and the connection is not bound to any one person. It is a team’s effort that shapes the relation.” says the smiling maker.
He held his ground and the show has faired brilliantly well, even after such drastic changes in the story line of the show. The thought does reflect the challenges of shows.
Producer of Four Lions Productions, Gul Khan claims, “An actor certainly plays a very important part but an exit can’t thwart a show. People admire the character that an artist is playing. They relate to the personality of a character and not just the actor.”
It can be recalled that she had been in the same situation when Barun Sobti left Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon.
“There are many examples of incidents when an actor with a crazy fan following stepped down from their most well-known role and somebody replaced them. But the shows have still done very well. The audiences loved the character of ‘Gopi Bahu’ (Saath Nibhana Saathiya), not just the face of it.” she added.
The makers seem to be on the same page with this thought that building a character is a team effort. And as long as the determination to tell a good story remains, the viewers stay in love with each character of their favourite show.
Not only Yeh Rishta… has seen the change, another of Star Plus’ big ticket show Saath Nibhana Saathiya saw an iconic casting change with Debolina Bhattacharya replacing Giaa Manik, thereby gathering a huge fan following. Just when one could only imagine Shilpa Shinde in the role of the docile Bhabhi, Shubhangi Atre took over that role and has nailed it.
“No one is bigger than the show. Even if I walk out, Yeh Hai Mohabbtein will go on. It’s a story that we are all bound to,” said Sandeep concluding that content is what rules a show.
The makers stand by their creative hunger but they also clarify that actors are a vital part of any storytelling team. The viewers will love the show if it’s content is strong along with a good cast.
What do you think?

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