Karishma - The Miracles of Destiny premiered on Sahara Manoranjan earlier this week adding one more chapter to an emerging trend on Indian television, that of a Bollywood star - and not a fading star - pirouetting on the small screen.
The phenomenon may not exactly be new. Amitabh Bachchan, who was floundering on the big screen some years back, became a household name with Kaun Banega Crorepati. This was followed up with much aplomb by "Chotte Miyan" Govinda on rival Sony Entertainment Television, and Anupam Kher and Manisha Koirala in Sawal Dus Crore Ka on ZEE TV.
Govinda, Kher and Koirala may not have scaled the heights that Bachchan did on television, but the point is all three programmes were gameshows and the equity of the star was reduced to fit that particular framework. The same goes for Madhuri Dixit's television debut with reality show Kahin Na Kahin Koi Hai on Sony last year. Dixit did not dance, act or perform, but merely used her charming presence to mediate between two potential partners and their families.
Cut to the present and the phenomenon has taken a new turn with Bollywood stars opting to feature in soaps, serials or comedies, putting their acting prowess on full display. TV is no more taboo for the marquis as is evident from the unbelievable list of stars that Sahara has managed to rope in.
Besides Karisma Kapoor, veteran Sridevi is set to debut on television a few months down the line with Hamari Bahu Malini Iyer, Raveena Tandon will feature as the Chhoti Bahu in the TV adaptation of Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam, and the biggest of them all, Amitabh Bachchan, will debut in an yet untitled production on the channel.
Though the last two Sahara productions are a long way off, and Tandon's project is set to hit the floor in another month or so, rival channels have started reacting to the Sahara star parade. For one, Sony has gone all out trying to create a big buzz around its new launch Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin, featuring Apurva Agnihotri of Pardes fame at 9.30 pm prime time.
For general entertainment channels, the launch of Karishma may signify an all-out war to retain their turfs but the point is, is the trend here to stay? "I don't see it changing in the near future," explains a senior media planner with a Top 10 agency. "The fact is that Bollywood is not doing too well in terms of the success rate of films at the box office and TV presents itself as an exciting and challenging medium, which is doing well at the same time. TV, I would say, is as big if not bigger than Bollywood for many."
One indicator of the increasing audience empathy with television is the performance of the STAR Parivaar Awards on July 6 as telecast on STAR Plus. This Award show, designed to reward various characters - and not the actors - in myriad STAR Plus soaps, notched up a TVR of 9.9 in cable and satellite homes, coming sixth in the TAM list of Top 100 shows (for the week July 6-12).
Juxtapose this performance with the telecast of a film awards function and the scorecard looks absolutely different. The Asian Paints STAR Screen Awards telecast in January this year notched up a TVR of 4.8 while the ZEE Cine Awards was lower down with a score of 3.3. Closer home, the Stardust Awards telecast on August 10 on STAR Plus garnered a TVR of just 2.4.
Viewers may be a bit "off-Bollywood" right now but there is no denying the fact that film stars enjoy a unique appeal on television as was evident when certain stars or renowned personalities walked into shows such as Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hain and KBC. "The TVR of these episodes simply jumped," says a planner based in Mumbai.
With television providing a new lease of life to a movie star's career, it is to be seen whether audiences lap up Karisma and Sridevi as they did Big B. © 2003 agencyfaqs!