Amrita Mulchandani (BOMBAY TIMES; May 20, 2013)
Rakshanda Khan sounded as refreshingly cool as an ice gola on a summer parched afternoon when we caught up with her recently. Rakshanda, who’s currently doing a fine balancing act by canning shots for Bade Achhe Laggte Hai (where she’s just stepped in) and devoting her time to her event management company, in high spirits. The actress, who’s playing an important role in BALH, says that she was happy doing “cameos” as her business takes most of her time. “We are doing our first award function in South Africa. I have a lot of respect for event managers now,” she says. Excerpts from an interview:
It’s been sometime since you did a full-fledged role in a TV soap… I have believed that it’s the character that makes an impact. See, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan does a 30-second TVC and people remember her. I am not comparing myself to her, but that’s the kind of impact one needs to make. If I am offered a two month role, which changes the story line completely, and a two year role where I have to wait for my screen time, I’d rather work for two months. I want the audiences to remember me for the good work I’m doing. Even today people talk about my character Mallika from Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahi. I am done playing the wall flower in a show. I want the director to utilise my talent to the core and even if I get physically exhausted, I’ll be happy because I’ll be a satisfied actor.
Most actors eventually diversify when they are at their More >
The producer had made a modern version of the epic in 2008 that failed to click
Neha Maheshwri Bhagat (BOMBAY TIMES; May 4, 2013)
Her Kahaani Hamaaray Mahaabhaarat Ki in 2008 got a lot of flak for being too modernised and the show went off air within a few months. Now, Ekta Kapoor is planning to try her luck again with another version of the Mahabharat, focusing on the life after the battle of Kurukshetra. Her show will launch on a new channel around the last week of July. Meanwhile, producer Siddharth Kumar Tewary’s Mahabharat is set to air in June. Says a source, “There have been two editions of Mahabharat — one by BR Chopra and the other by Ekta. Two more editions of the epic are in the offing. Nobody has explored the life of the survivors of the battle of Kurukshetra and that’s what Ekta’s show is going to do.” We tried to get in touch with Ekta, but she didn’t revert.
Ekta Kapoor’s Kahaani Hamaaray Mahaabhaarat Ki
Tanushree Dutta’s sisterwill soon make her telly debut
Neha Maheshwri Bhagat (BOMBAY TIMES; April 22, 2013)
Ishita Dutta, the younger sister of former-beauty-queen turned-actress Tanushree Dutta, is all set to mark her debut on the small screen.
Ishita will play the protagonist in Raakesh Paswan’s Ek Ghar Banaunga. Ask her why she didn’t follow didi dearest to Bollywood and pat comes the reply, “Today, actors look for quality and this show offers me that. I haven’t restricted myself to TV. This is my first step into the world of glamour. I have never planned my life, I let things happen on their own.” Ishita says Tanushree is happy for her. “My sister has always been very supportive; she has stood by my decisions and also helps me choose wisely. I’ve learnt a lot from her,” adds she. About the insecurities that actors have to go through in this industry, she says, “The industry gives an actor many reasons to feel insecure primarily because of its fleeting nature. I have learnt from my sister to turn a blind eye to these negative feelings and continue working hard. I think most creative people follow this rule or else they all would have gone mad by now.”
This leaves no time for personal life, say small screen stars, who sometimes have to work up to 84 hours a week!
Saloni Bhatia (BOMBAY TIMES; April 21, 2013)
Fame comes at a price, at least for TV actors. Even though they’re paid well, a common grouse is that they have to sweat it out too often thanks to the long work hours. This has driven many actors to even quit their shows. ‘This is how the TV industry works, and there is nothing that can be done to sort this out’, some say, who’ve come to terms with this work culture, but actor Barun Sobti (right), who quit Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon for this very reason, doesn’t take things lying down. He recently said, “There is a labour law in the country which allows you to work for 45 hours a week, but TV actors, specially the lead actors, on an average, work close to 84 hours a week. I think there should be strict labour laws in the country.” But why such long hours when the duration of the episode that’s finally aired is just 15-20 minutes? Here’s what lawyers and the industrywallahs have to say.
LABOUR LAWS DON’T COVER TV ACTORS While Barun might be seeking stricter labour laws for TV actors, the fact is that the law doesn’t cover them. Says Anurag Tomar, a lawyer at the Supreme Court, “The Industrial Disputes Act doesn’t cover TV actors. Drivers, skilled and unskilled labourers are covered under the act. TV actors and the producers don’t share the relationship of an employee and employer. The actors work on a More >
The self regulatory body identifies offensive content, asks broadcasters to shift to adult slot or get heavily fined
Shubha Shetty (MUMBAI MIRROR; April 16, 2013)
Several general entertainment channels including two music channels have been asked by the self regulatory body – Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) – to shift ‘offensive’ content to the adult slot, else be heavily fined.
To which UTV Bindass responded by changing the format of their show, Emotional Atyachaar. Their representative had in fact been summoned to the capital by BCCC officials and reprimanded about the show’s content. MTV and Channel V too were similarly warned. Once BCCC sounds off a cautionary note, producers have little option but to get their act straight before the next telecast.
When contacted, Shabana Azmi, who is a member of the BCCC Board, said, “Yes, we have received many complaints about these shows.” BCCC has also directed channels to stop airing scripted shows in the name of reality shows.
“A TV programme cannot pretend to be a reality show, when they have constructed the scenes, and handed out scripts. We have instructed all such reality shows to come with the necessary disclaimer,” said Azmi, adding that the BCCC is well within its rights to look into the grievances of the audience. “TV channels should know this self regulatory group wouldn’t blindly listen to any complaint. We act upon only 20 per cent of valid complaints. We give them three warnings, but if they don’t More >
The television actress has been replaced in an upcoming dance reality show overnight
Neha Maheshwri Bhagat (BOMBAY TIMES; April 6, 2013)
Actress Rati Pandey (right) aka Indira of Hitler Didi, was almost finalised as the hostess of the upcoming dance reality show, India’s Dancing Superstar. However, the deal fell through and the channel replaced her with actress Aishwarya Sakhuja (top), who is also hosting Shriman vs Shrimati on the same channel.
While the production sources allege Rati was replaced because of her tantrums and diva attitude, the actress claims otherwise. She says, “I was informed of my ouster last evening and that too, when I called up the channel to enquire about the shoot. I had received the contract papers and almost signed it. It seems the production house had informed the channel that I hadn’t given them time for the workshop, which isn’t true. I had visited actor Mohit Malhotra — the male host of the show — on his set for rehearsals as he was shooting. But on day four of the workshop, I was informed that Mohit has gone abroad. I had blocked my dates for the show and adjusted the shoot of my daily soap accordingly. The channel told me that they had asked the production house to inform me four days ago. Had I not contacted the channel, I wouldn’t have known about the development.”
Aishwarya didn’t revert to our text message.
Indian television to get its first young adult series with characters inspired by history and books such as The Immortals of Meluha
Ananya Ghosh (MUMBAI MIRROR; April 2, 2013)
Authors have often drawn inspiration and references from Indian mythology and history to tell their tale — be it to serve up feminist ideals and atonement as in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s Palace of Illusions, or drawing parallels with fictionalised accounts of the Independence movement, like in Shashi Tharoor’s The Great Indian Novel.
And now the sweeping success of Amish Tripathi’s Shiva trilogy—thrillers based on the ‘life’ of Shiva, has renewed interest in the history/mythology genre with a slew of graphic novels targeting young-adults flooding the market.
Driving this interest to television, a Mumbai-based studio is working on an Anime series for audiences between 13 and 25 years of age. Titled The Age of Lions, it is supposed to go on air by the end of this year.
Shamik Dasgupta, the chief script writer, who has previously worked on graphic novels Ramayan 3392 AD, The Legends of Aveon 9 and Daksh, told Mirror: “We believe there is a huge market for young adults—who read Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and The Immortals Of Meluha. We don’t have anything to offer on TV, especially in animation. In countries like Japan or USA, a majority of animation consumers are from this age bracket.”
According to Shamik, the USP of the series is its content: “What makes it different from a cartoon made for More >
Smita Singh shocked at what’s written about her on an online encyclopedia; it says ‘the actress suffers from skin cancer and there is a 95% chance of dying’
Neha Maheshwri Bhagat (BOMBAY TIMES; March 15, 2013)
TV actress Smita Singh, best known for her role as Punpunwali, is angry. Naturally so. A popular online encyclopedia claims that Smita suffers from skin cancer and that there is a 95% chance of dying! The actress, who was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2008, fought the disease and recovered completely. “It was the first stage of cancer and and I fully recovered with treatment. I am going to live for another 50 years. In fact, I’m hunting for a suitable groom and want to get married soon and become a mother too,” she says.
Smita says she isn’t aware of how something like this has appeared online. “I was shocked when a fan recently brought it to my notice. I don’t even know who to get in touch with to change the text. And how can anyone put up something like that? It’s so insensitive. I know this is a website where anybody can post things, but isn’t there some kind of a verification?”
Incidentally, the encyclopedia also says she quit the TV show Hitler Didi after she was diagnosed with cancer. “Even that information is wrong. I had quit Kismet Ka Khel after I was diagnosed with cancer. I’d quit Hitler Didi due to monetary issues and returned after things worked out between the production house and me.”
Roshni K Olivera (BOMBAY TIMES; March 12, 2013)
Seasons are the norm abroad but are a rarity on Indian television. Except for reality shows, no series has been able to work around a seasonal format. That just might change this year, with several off-air shows in talks for second seasons. Buzz is Mann Kee Awaaz…Pratigya, Dil Se Di Dua… Saubhagyavati, Saas Bina Sasural, The Buddy Project and Kuch Toh Log Kahenge are all pitching for a second go. Channels, however, are taking time to decide as they’re not entirely convinced. Channels are sceptical going by the track record of past serials — Baa Bahoo Baby, Kitani Mohabbat Hai and Chhoti Bahu — that did not deliver consistent Television Rating Points (TRPs) during their second season. Even the ongoing Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha’s (right) new season has yet to make an impact on the TRP charts.
So, why doesn’t the seasonal format for fiction shows work here? Serials on Indian television do not have a fixed run and usually go on and on as long as the channel will let it, to the point where ratings hit rock-bottom. “How can you expect viewers to wait for a second season when they’ve got so bored of the first? A show should end when it is still popular and then audiences will naturally wait for part two. Our channels need to understand this simple mantra,” says a producer, on condition of anonymity. Abroad, where the concept of seasonal fiction shows work, the episode-run is always pre-decided, be it 12 or 21 episodes. It’s, More >
Actress Toral Rasputra on becoming the new Balika Vadhu
Neha Maheshwri Bhagat (BOMBAY TIMES; March 4, 2013)
Are you nervous about playing Anandi, a character already made popular by Pratyusha Banerjee? Yes, but I believe in myself. My co-actors share tips with me. The atmosphere on the sets is very positive.
How did your family react? They are elated, especially my in-laws. My mother, an avid follower of the show, is also thrilled. When the producers asked me if I was willing to replace Pratyusha to play the new Anandi, I didn’t give it a second thought.
What do you think about Pratyusha? She is a fine actress and people have liked her. I hope to live up to the audience’s expectations and carry her legacy forward.
How did you react when you were offered this role? I didn’t have a clue that I was being auditioned for Anandi’s role. The process took almost 20 days and I was under the impression that it was for a new project. I was excited when they told me that I had been finalised to play Anandi. It’s a turning point in my career.
What worked in your favour? I can carry off the Indian look perfectly. I’ve donned the Rajasthani look in my previous show and the makers probably got a positive feedback from there.
Ever fear that the viewers might take time to adjust to a new face and affect TRPs? The viewers will take some time, as they have loved Pratyusha as Anandi. But I am certain that they will accept me over time.
Balika Vadhu airs Monday to Saturday at 8 pm on More >