Reloading The Actor

Ever since the news of Barun Sobti quitting the popular television show Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon became public, angry fans have threatened via mails and e-petitions that they would stop watching the show once it stops featuring their favourite actor. However, Sobti aka Arnav Raizada on the show, has bagged a film offer and is keen to explore greener pastures. Gul Khan, the producer and owner of 4 Lions Films, is now looking for a suitable replacement. "It's difficult to find a replacement and it hurts the show, especially if it's a love story. But it is only fair to let actors to move towards a better career."

This isn't the first time that a lead actor of a show is quitting midway. For the last few weeks rumours that Shivaji Satam will stop playing the popular role of ACP Pradyuman on CID, are doing the rounds. Satam, however, is neither confirming nor dismissing the rumours.

In the recent past, TV soaps have successfully changed the lead actors of major shows, few instances being, Devoleena Bhattacharjee who replaced Giaa Maanek in Saath Nibhana Saathiya on Star Plus and Naman Shaw replacing Jai Bhanushali in Zee TVs Phir Subah Hogi and Sharad Kelkar taking the place of Mohnish Behl on Sony's Kuch Toh Log Kahenge. The generation leap in Colors' Uttaran also had Nandish Sandhu being replaced by Vikas Bhalla. And Sandhu has replaced Anuj Sachdeva in Kairi.

Such a trend does not bother many from the industry. "It is not a major concern. The personality and face doesn't really matter but the acting ability does. Also the character should be so strong that it defines the actor," says writer Kamlesh Pandey. But sometimes the audience gets addicted to a face and that could pose a problem. For instance, Smriti Irani's exit made Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi suffer and she was soon called back to play the iconic role of Tulsi. Also, Kkusum was wrapped up soon after Nausheen Ali Sardar was replaced by Mansi Joshi Roy. Recently, when Manek quit the show Saathiya, the TRP did dip, but as producer Rashmi Sharma says, "The popularity of Gopi as a character helped sustain it. Also, when we chose the replacement we made sure she too resembled the previous actor in mannerisms and facial expressions."

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