Features

Size Does Matter

Hindi cinema has seen a recent spate of actors making the transition from the small screen to the big one. Are filmmakers finally opening the door to television actors?

The film industry is in the throes of change. Not only is there a shift in content and genre but there are other trends defining its current phase. Among these is increased traffic between television and cinema, where opportunities have opened up for small-screen actors looking to make the switch.Boundaries between the two mediums are blurring, and even though it will be a while before they melt completely as in the West, many TV actors and actresses here are taking the plunge, quite a few of them successfully.

Fuelling this trend is the new breed of filmmakers, who are breaking the mould by making ‘realistic cinema’. Young, with a fresh perspective and high on content, they are not hung up on stereotypes that sometimes hold back established filmmakers. Besides, the number of Hindi films being made has also increased, leaving the stage open to small-screen talent. In fact, television is now being perceived by some as a ‘training ground’ for their move to the big time.

Among the actors who have made the transition are Ayushmann Khurrana and Yami Gautam of Vicky Donor fame, and Rajeev Khandelwal, who was recognised for his performance in the soap Kahiin To Hoga. His first brush with films was with Raj Kumar Gupta’s Aamir, which was a success. Television host Rannvijay Singh made his debut with Toss: A Flip Of Destiny but he was noticed only after his second film Vipul Shah’s London Dreams.Noted for his performance in Balaji Telefilms’ Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, actor Pulkit Samrat too forayed into films with Supavitra Babul’s Bittoo Boss. Then there’s Pavitra Rishta’s Sushant Singh Rajput and another TV actor Amit Sadh, who will soon be seen in UTV Motion Pictures’ Kai Po Che! directed by Abhishek Kapoor. Rahul Bhatt from the serial Heena will feature on the big screen once again in Anurag Kayshap’s Ugly.

And it’s not only actors. Prachi Desai, who starred in the soap Kasamh Se made her film debut with Rock On!!! Aamna Shariff too ventured into films after she became popular with the show Kahiin To Hoga. Even child actor Avika Gor of Balika Vadhu fame made her movie debut with Milind Ukey’s Paathshaala. She will also feature in director Kalpana Lajmi’s Kaanch. There’s a flipside to this trend, with many actors too hosting television shows and promoting their films on the small screen.

Whether superstar Amitabh Bachchan (Kaun Banega Crorepati), Shah Rukh Khan (Kyaa Aap Pachvi Paas Se Tez Hai, Kaun Banega Crorepati), Akshay Kumar (Khatron Ke Khiladi), Salman Khan (Bigg Boss), Priyanka Chopra (Khatron Ke Khiladi), Abhishek Bachchan (Bingo), Farhan Akhtar (Oye! It’s Friday), Hrithik Roshan (Just Dance) and lately Aamir Khan with his show Satyamev Jayate. Even if the TV-to-films trend is catching on, it’s not new. Superstar Shah Rukh Khan was the first film actor to start his career with television serials Fauji, Circus and Dil Dariya. Actress Vidya Balan too acted in the comedy television show Hum Paanch before making her debut to Hindi cinema with Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeti in 2005.

Thus, with so many television stars making a beeline for the Hindi film industry and extending their talent to the big screen, the question we’re asking this week is: has the film industry opened its doors wide to TV actors? We asked prominent television actors to share their views.

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