That loyal viewers of Indian soaps thrive on the daily shenanigans of the saas, bahu, beti and baby tribe is a fact. Usually it’s the on-screen drama that has the audience hooked but currently the behind-the-scenes activity has everyone agog. Two high profile replacements can do that.
First Karan Singh Grover was replaced by Raqesh Vashisth in Zee TV’s hit show Qubool Hai and now the male lead of Madhubala— Ek Ishq Ek Junoon, Vivian D’Sena has been given the marching orders. The Colors show headlined by Drashti Dhami is going for a 20-year leap with buzz being rife that small screen’s famous Bad Boy, Karanvir Bohra will be the new leading man opposite Dhami — who will get to play a double role of Madhubala and her daughter.
There is nothing novel about replacements in television anymore. I mean, they even changed the Balika of Balika Vadhu — Toral Rasputra was signed on as Anandi and Pratyusha Banerjee was told to go. Years ago, Ekta Kapoor replaced Smriti Irani with Gautami Kapoor as Tulsi in the mother of all soaps, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. With time, viewers have learnt to take these changes in their stride. A case in point is how the viewers accepted Hiten Tejwani as the new Manav when Sushant Singh Rajput opted out of Pavitra Rishta in order to fulfill his Bollywood dreams.
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But whenever a replacement is announced, some controversy tumbles out. Like it happened in the case of Grover where Zee TV issued a statement that he was asked to go because of his starry tantrums and unprofessional behaviour. Grover denied the channel’s version and cited health reasons for his exit. In D’Sena’s case, Madhubala producer Saurabh Tewari said he was replaced because he was taking too many offs. “I had a tough time shooting with Vivian as he used to go on 6 days’ leave in a month, and that too at a stretch. A TV actor can’t do that. Even the parallel story lines that I created failed,” Tewari was quoted in a recent interview. D’Sena shot back claiming his contract specified 25 days availability.
But in TV, contracts have little value. The pace of the medium is such that it operates on daily demand-and-supply model. Moreover, there is hardly ever an episodic bank because storylines are changed according to the TRP ratings. It’s not unheard of actors shooting for 30 days for 15 hours at a stretch. The rules are same for everyone — if the actors toil hard so do the writers, creatives and the unit hands. Who said entertaining viewers is an easy job? But the bottomline is that the show must go on.