Mumbai, Feb. 9 -- Every TV actor worth his salt looks up to Shah Rukh Khan, not just for his talent, but also since he made a successful transition from the small screen to the big.
Today, Sushant Singh Rajput and Ayushmann Khurrana are examples of actors who have made the switch well. But the big question arises: why don't more TV stars bag lead roles in films?
Most TV actors are cast in supporting roles only. Siddharth Shukla, of Balika Vadhu fame, who recently signed a three-film deal with Karan Johar, says, "Today TV actors are accepted by the makers and audiences. It's about that one big break, but there are many who can utilise the opportunity. They say it's tough for TV stars to get a break."
Hiten Tejwani, who's done many supporting roles in films and lead roles on TV, agrees, "Earlier, people were sceptical of casting TV actors as they felt we were overexposed, but now, we are valued."
Film-maker Vikram Bhatt, who has given breaks to many TV stars including Karan Kundra, Vishal Karwal and Jay Bhanushali, feels not everyone has it in them to make it big. "There can only be so many people doing a handful of lead roles in films. We have had Prachi Desai and Yami Gautam, among others, who have had success in films as leads," he says.
Vikram adds that playing a character actor on TV sets you up for similar roles in films. "Alok Nath, Milind Gunaji and Manoj Bajpayee have come from TV to films successfully. Just because they are not leads doesn't mean they are lesser actors than others," he says.
Making it big
So, is the industry biased against TV stars? Ekta Kapoor, who has introduced many TV stars to films, doesn't feel so. She says, "The bias (against TV stars) has gone." Agreeing with her, Ayushmann earlier told HT, "Traditionally, it (bias) has always been believed to exist. It's all about creating your own space and waiting for the right opportunity."
After success on TV, actors feel the urge to do films and many end up doing bit roles. Recently, Jai Ho had half a dozen television actors. Hiten says, "At times, actors sign films as per the narration, but when the film is ready, the role might be chopped off. People then wonder why they did such small roles."
Strict contracts too are deterrent for TV actors. Drashti Dhami was reportedly offered the lead role in Singham 2 but due to her show, she couldn't take it up. Hiten, sums up the situation, saying, "It's all about luck and talent and the right break at the right time. Everything has to click, it does for some actors and doesn't for others."