While replacements on soaps aren’t uncommon, there are a few cases of actors announcing their decisions to quit shows, but only to rejoin quietly. Recently, Neelu Vaghela aka Bhabho of Diya Aur Baati Hum announced that she had decided to quit the show due to the long hours of shooting, which were affecting her health. However, she later changed her mind.
Neelu says, “I had been unwell for quite sometime and shooting long hours was difficult, which is why I planned to leave, but the team worked out a solution wherein I will now be shooting for lesser hours. Also, I could not let down my fans. They love Bhabho’s character and requested me not to leave. I’m lucky that the audience loves my character; I had to do this for them.”
Other recent instances of actors being on the verge of quitting, but not taking the plunge, included Paridhi Sharma from Jodha Akbar and Dipika Samson from Sasural Simar Ka. While Paridhi claimed that the show’s director Santram Verma had mentally tortured her, Dipika wanted to explore better opportunities; but ultimately both stayed on.
There have also been instances of actors actually quitting but returning to the same show — Sunil Grover from Comedy Nights with Kapil and Kavita Kaushik from FIR.
A source from the TV industry, on condition of anonymity, tells us: “At times, actors feel restricted. When a particular character becomes a hit, the audience refuses to accept them in a new role. This is always a fear at the back of their mind. Like for instance when Neelu did Nach Baliye, a lot of fans would tell her that while she surprised them with her fun side, they no longer feared Bhabho (her character in DABH) because they had seen how she was in real life! Similarly, Giaa Manek was replaced in Saathiya by Star Plus when she did Jhalak Dikhla Jaa for a rival channel.
But Giaa was soon ousted from Jhalak as well, so she ended up losing both shows. Actors may decide to quit in the heat of the moment but they later develop cold feet.”
Director Kushal Zaveri, the name behind shows like Pavitra Rishta and The Serial says, “When actors get a show, a lot of them don’t realise the importance of the work, they take it for granted. It’s when they don’t get any work for six months or a year that they become desperate. A lot of them leave because they want to increase their per-day wages and once the deal is renegotiated they come back on the show.
Also, after Sushant Singh Rajput became a hit, a lot of TV actors want to try their luck in Bollywood, they take the step of leaving the show but they don’t have the patience to hold back for a year or two till they get a film.”
Former director of Diya Aur Baati Hum, Rohit Raj Goyal, believes that instant success and popularity does get to actors. He says, “When actors start out they give 12 hours to the show. Once they become popular they realise shooting for long hours doesn’t work for them and ask for lesser hours. Actors also expect the money to increase along with their popularity. The audience gets attached to particular actors, so the production house and channel normally give in to the actors’ demands. At times its only a threat, they don’t intend to quit.”