A year ago, Bollywood legend Rekha crooned her iconic song Ghum Hai Kisikey Pyaar Mein, for a TV show named after it. The show which featured relatively lesser-known actors turned out to be the underdog of the year, with its constant spot in the top five rated TV shows. Actor Neil Bhatt who plays Virat in the daily soap is “eternally thankful” to the actor. “I speak on behalf of my whole cast and crew; we were pleasantly surprised when we got to know that Rekha ji is coming on board. Rekha ji being a part of a show which is named after one of her iconic songs is a big thing,” shares Bhatt.
Recently, actor Kareena Kapoor Khan turned narrator for an upcoming show Spy Bahu. The promo featured Bebo and just like the viewers even the show’s protagonist Sana Sayyad was amazed. “I was on cloud nine. I packed up (from the shoot), came home, and told everyone, ‘Losers look who is the narrator of my show’. People were like why would she promote the show and I told them ‘TV series has totally changed, it’s a different ball game now,” says Sayyad.
Of course, it’s not a recent innovation to have Bollywood actors shoot for TV show’s promos. In the past, superstar Shah Rukh Khan also shot for the reboot of Kasautii Zindagii Kay. However, since Rekha’s appearance and the daily turning out to be a hit, this seems to be the latest fixation for the small screen. Veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar gave an ode to the TV show Wagle Ki Duniya (WKD) on its first anniversary, while musician Badshah sang the title track for Udaariyan and actor Mithun Chakraborty shared his story for Chikoo Ki Mummy Durr Kei (CKMDK). Interestingly, all of this has happened on TV in just a year. Producer Nilanjana Purkayasstha (CKMDK), says, “Brand endorsement by stars for products has been a successful marketing device for years. I am happy that this strategy is now being used for shows also.”
But, do these big names really influence viewers? The answer to it could be, picking the right face who resonates with the show. “Bollywood actors have a certain reach and influence on people. It felt heartwarming to have Javed ji come for us. Everybody knows that if he lends his voice to anything 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 opinions will influence a lot of people. It means a lot when Kareena says 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 somebody, who is a role model, to introduce our character. Surprisingly, Bebo liked the name Spy Bahu. She was floored by the name and the concept. Also, Kareena caters to all the age groups,” Yardi adds.
Ironically, except CKMDK, and Spy Bahu (the show recently went on air), all the other shows have done well on the rating charts. However, unanimously, everyone believes that eventually, it is the content that works. Bhatt is unaware whether his daily soap started this fad, but he believes every show has its destiny. He explains, “I don’t know if we can say that (his show starting the trend). It can be a trend, (but) I’m not aware who is promoting what. I’m not in the rating game. It’s not my lookout. But there is no success formula. A project is destined to be successful or not. It was destined (for us) and having said that one cannot take away the hard work.” Yardi shares, “As a marketing person, you just cannot rely on a popular face to endorse something that doesn’t have value or is stale.”
Actor Ankita Gupta, who plays Fateh in Udaariyaan, resonates with the two. “In the last one year, I’ve realised that (eventually) what works is the story. People are connected to the characters. I don’t think getting big stars results in the success of the show. Agar aisa hota toh Ranveer Singh ka show top pe hota, but that didn’t happen,” he shares. “We have seen some big film actors doing television shows, yet they didn’t work, so whether this trend stays or not, I don’t know, but the content will always be the king,” Pranati ends.