TV sheen pulls back stars: Makers say their experience and fan base boosts popularity of the shows

Amid discussions around how television needs to create better content, a number of actors have made their comeback to fiction on the small screen this year. While Shweta Gulati returned with Tera Yaar Hoon Main and Ratan Rajput with Santoshi Maa Sunaye Vrat Kathayein after three years, Dadhi Pandey with Story 9 Months Ki after 10 years, actors Rupali Ganguly and Sudhanshu Pandey came back with the show Anupamaa after six and four years respectively. Actors Mohit Sehgal and Sukriti Kandpal, who did cameo roles in between, too have taken up full-length parts in Naagin 5 and Story 9 Months Ki, after three years.

While most of these actors are enjoying their stint, show makers say a known actor’s comeback does help in boosting the show’s popularity.

Rajan Shahi, producer of Anupamaa, says these actors come with experience. “They’re good performers and know how to engage their audience. Rupali and Sudhanshu transformed into Anupamaa and Vanraj so easily that it makes you realise that actors like them have a charm of their own,” he adds.

“These actors have a good fan following who look forward to seeing their favourite stars again. While many were surprised to see Shweta playing a mother on screen, her brilliant performance won their hearts,” says Shashi Mittal, producer of Tera Yaar Hoon Main.

Gulati also shares been getting messages on social media about her character. “If you’ve the zeal and patience, TV does give you opportunities to experiment. Thankfully me taking a step back and waiting for the right role worked for me… if you can’t surprise your audience then you can’t engage them,” she adds.

Kandpal and Ganguly too were waiting for the right role to comeback. Ganguly was enjoying her family time and was “contemplating to taking up something interesting” when Anupamaa was offered.

“The concept, character and the people I’m working with matters. I was looking for something unique… Also the show focusing on a topic like IVF touching upon many other interesting factors got me hooked,” says Kandpal.

Anjum Abbas, Creative Producer, Rangrez Television Works, makers of Story 9 Months Ki, shares Kandpal being a part of the show itself generated a “good buzz”. The reaction to the promo itself is proof. “Sukiriti has a strong fan base. People have loved her on screen earlier, too. Hence this kind of response from the audience,” adds Abbas.

Talking about what made him walk back to TV, Pandey says TV is “probably the strongest medium”. He continues, “You don’t get to play a layered character like Vanraj on TV every day. Also Rajan is an old friend. I knew he won’t settle for anything but good.”

When asked if discussion around TV content going regressive has also been a reason for these actors to take a break, most of them disagree.

“While that might be an opinion of a handful, there is also a majority watching and relying on television for their daily dose of information, entertainment and wellness. My break was solely for personal reasons,” says Rajput.

Pandey, however, agrees that TV content did go downhill in between. “But not anymore… And the medium needs to evolve constantly in today’s time when there’s much exposure to world content.

For a show to work in totality both narrative and performance need to work says Shahi.

“It’s like a double-edged sword… you need the right packaging of performance, story and execution. With Anupamaa exploring mature love story and the subplots it explores we ran the risk of failing too but we survived because the show draws a lot from reality and fiction we weaved in is balanced,” he wraps up.

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Author tweets @Shreya_MJ

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