MUMBAI: The last time audiences saw a plethora of stars making their presence on television was when a major film award ceremony was underway. Else it would be the promotion of a film, on a daily soap or reality show. But now with several biggies opting to devote more than just five-minute appearances for television, are we in for something exciting?
Interestingly, Amitabh Bachchan and Anurag Kashyap have joined hands to work on a fiction series. While Anurag Kashyap will be the creative director, Amitabh Bachchan would be producing the series under his banner Saraswati Productions along with Endemol.
Amitabh Bachchan, till now who has been the face of reality quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati for several seasons, (one of which also was hosted by Shah Rukh Khan), will now be donning the hat of a creative producer.
The show will go on floors, sometime by the end of this year. In the meantime, we have already seen Sanjay Leela Bhansali directing his magnum opus television opera ‘Saraswatichandra’ on Star Plus.
If this is not enough, Anil Kapoor is making a foray into television with an Indian version of American television series 24. He is reprising Jack Bauer’s role as Jai Singh Rathod. 24 will also have Anupam Kher and Tisca Chopra play important characters.
And then we already have Salman Khan (Big Boss), Abhay Deol (Connected Hum Tum) playing hosts for reality shows. Does this mean, that Bollywood is gearing up for its second innings on television?
Why second innings? Well because the first ended a decade ago. It was way back in 2000 when Amitabh Bachchan first made his appearance in Kaun Banega Crorepati. While he has managed to stay fresh, several other Bollywood biggies, since then have tried to work hard to come close, sadly it wasn’t that easy.
Who could forget Karisma Kapoor and her (not quite) royal act in ‘Karishma – The Miracles of Destiny’? The show had an ensemble cast comprising Sanjay Kapoor, Arbaaz Khan, Arshad Warsi, Jugal Hansraj, Vikas Bhalla, Ayub Khan, and the list practically was endless. ‘Barfi’ director Anurag Basu directed the show. In spite of the big Bollywood presence, the show’s destiny was miraculously disastrous, quite uncanny to the title.
If this was not it, we had our very own Sridevi aka ‘English Vinglish’ going heavily Madrasi with her ‘Malini Iyer’, sadly a show which even housewives couldn’t resist, both North and South.
This was also the time when Govinda with his toothpaste ad-like smile hosted Jeeto Chappar Phad Ke, Manisha Koirala and Anupam Kher hosted Sawaal Dus Crore Ka, which within ten episodes was termed as a dud.
From all, what could be gained is that nothing content-wise was impactful and Bollywood’s first innings on the small screen, was nothing less than a failure. Since then many stars have come, walked away with that small claim to fame and disappeared. Very few like Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan (only because of Reality shows), rather have been successful to an extent.
And now, probably a decade later, audiences are gearing to see a similar trend. We just wonder with changing mindsets and audiences trying to break the monotony of soaps, will this bring a sea of change. And what happens to our very own Friday fever? Will movies take a backseat, maybe yes, maybe not?
For many the answer might be difficult, but we surely can see a great amalgamation in the making – That of Bollywood and TV. And what this does to business, well it just opens up doors for revenues. Yashraj has already made its foray into television and with Anurag Kashyap and Amitabh Bachchan now, it just has got bigger, probably better?