A year ago, Bollywood legend Rekha crooned his iconic song Ghum Hai Kisikey Pyaar Mein, for a television program named after it. The show, which featured relatively lesser-known actors, proved to be the underdog of the year, with its constant place among the top five TV shows. Actor Neil Bhatt, who plays Virat in the daily soap, is “eternally grateful” to the actor. “I speak on behalf of my entire cast and crew; we were pleasantly surprised when we learned that Rekha ji is coming on board. That Rekha ji is part of a show named after one of her iconic songs is a big thing, says Bhatt.
Recently, actress Kareena Kapoor Khan became the narrator of an upcoming show Spy Bahu. The campaign featured Bebo and just like the viewers, the show’s main character Sana Sayyad was surprised. “I was on cloud nine. I packed up (from the filming), came home and said to everyone, ‘Loser, look who’s the narrator in my show?’ “The series has changed completely, it’s a different ball game now,” said Sayyad.
Of course, letting Bollywood actors film TV commercials is not a new innovation. Earlier, superstar Shah Rukh Khan also shot for restart Kasauti Zindagii Kay. But since Rekha’s appearance and daily life turns out to be a hit, this seems to be the latest fix for the small screen. Veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar gave an ode to the TV show Wagle Ki Duniya (WKD) on its one-year anniversary, while musician Badshah sang the title song for Udaariyan and actor Mithun Chakraborty shared his story for Chikoo Ki Mummy Durr Kei (CKMDK). Interestingly, all this has happened on TV in just one year. Producer Nilanjana Purkayasstha (CKMDK) says: “Star brand approval for products has been a successful marketing unit for several years. I’m glad that this strategy is now also being used for shows.”
But do these big names really affect viewers? The answer to that may be to choose the right face that resonates with the show. “Bollywood actors have a certain reach and influence on people. It felt heartwarming that Javed ji came for us. Everyone knows that if he lends his voice to something, there is a soul present in that show,” says Pariva Pranati, actor ( WKD). Sayyad, adds, “Bebo is like a hardcore feminist. I’m sure her views will affect many people. It means a lot when Kareena says that this show is interesting. It makes a big difference and of course gives us a good kickstart. ”
Producer Ashvini Yardi reveals that it was “the channel’s idea” to bring Kapoor on board. “We needed someone, who is a role model, to present our character. Surprisingly, Bebo liked the name. Spy Bahu. She was floored by the name and the concept. Kareena also caters to all age groups, ”adds Yardi.
Ironically, except CKMDKand Spy Bahu (the show recently went on the air), all other programs have done well on the ratings lists. But unanimously, everyone believes that eventually it is the content that works. Bhatt is unaware of whether his daily soap started this fad, but he thinks every show has its destiny. He explains, “I do not know if we can say that (his show started the trend). It may be a trend, (but) I’m not aware of who is marketing what. I’m not in the grading game. It’s not my look. “But there is no formula for success. A project is meant to be successful or not. It was meant (for us) and with that said, you can not remove the hard work.” Yardi shares: “As a marketer, you simply can not trust a popular face to support something that has no value or is out of date.”
Actor Ankita Gupta, who plays Fateh in Udaariyaan, reasoning with the two. “Over the past year, I’ve realized that what (ultimately) works is the story. People are connected to the characters. I do not think getting big stars leads to the success of the show. Agar aisa hota toh Ranveer Singh ka show top pe hota, “It did not happen,” he says. Pranati.