Saath Nibhana Sathiys famous TV serial-Jiaa Manek (aka Gopi bahu) was likely to be replaced fromSaath Nibhana Saathiya), for doing a dance reality show on another channel, the inevitable has happened-Jiaa now joins the ‘replaced’ stars’ club of Priyal Gor (Preet Se Bandhi Yeh Dori-Ram Milaayi Jodi), Rati Pandey (Miley Jab Hum Tum), Mishal Raheja (Laagi Tujhse Lagan), Amar Upadhyay, Smriti Irani (Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi),
-Eijaz Khan (Shubh Vivah), Iqbal Khan (Karam Apna Apna) and Mona Wasu (Parichay) who were all unceremoniously dropped from their shows when they were at the peak of their stardom! Blame it on starry tantrums, unprofessional behaviour or not-so-good equations with the production house-channel, the one time heartthrobs were replaced overnight from their prime time glory without much ado.
-So, how do channels-production houses deal a new actor in an already existing and probably successful show? More importantly, for soap addicts, is there a connect with the replacement? Going by past record, stars have sometimes been summoned back (Smriti Irani, Rati Pandey and Anuj Saxena) owing to their huge popularity, or the show has shut shop (Laagi Tujhse Lagan). Director Ravindra Gautam says, “We nurture our characters for a long time, the audience also starts associating a particular face with a character.
-To begin afresh with another star in the same role is difficult. Actors leave or are asked to leave because they get bored of playing the same character, are unprofessional and make unreasonable demand for pay hike.” Producer-director-actor JD Majethia insists that while it is difficult to replace an actor, it’s not impossible. “It is a risk to change the face of a show because the audience relates to him-her the most. If Amar Upadhyay, who was a huge star, could be replaced (as Mihir from Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi), then anyone can be replaced.No one is indispensable.”
-Granted, there are production houses who take their stars for granted and act in a high handed manner with them refusing to meet their demands, but there are also stars whose unprofessional behaviour could well be the final straw for the channel-production house. Says producer Sudhir Sharma, “Creatively it is a huge setback for a production house when a star leaves an ongoing show.
-We take months to cast an actor, train him and then groom him.” A member of the Cine and TV Artistes’ Association (CINTAA), Sudhir adds, “Broadcasters have to be strict with stars who do not abide by the rules to maintain discipline. Only then will the TV industry function well.”
-From being a prime time star to being sacked from can’t be easy. How demoralizing is it for actors to get replaced? Priyal Gor says, “It is disappointing for an actress to be replaced. When you move to another production house, people question you which is insulting.”
-Actor Hiten Tejwani who’s replaced Cezanne Khan and Sushant Singh Rajput in the past, says, “Everyone from the channel, production house to the actor suffers in the process. An actor is sacked when there’s no room for discussion and it’s the final step.”
-What about the audience? Isn’t it tough for them to connect with a new face? “The audience does take time to connect with a new face, but if an actor is talented then he will win everyone’s heart,” feels Hiten. Is the star bigger than the character? Or is script the king? That technicality changes every week when TRPs are made public…and some Gopi bahu says like theaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee