Small screen wonders
You can act in many films and still not get noticed, or you can suddenly get immensely popular by participating in an unusual sport or television show, as actors like Archana, Hari Teja, Diksha Pant, Siva Balaji or Prince found out. While they didn’t really get much of a name from the films they acted in, now they are all household names, thanks to the reality show, Bigg Boss hosted by Jr NTR.
Interestingly, when these actors were initially selected, everyone thought they were worthless, didn’t have any work, and so, got roped in for the show. But now, their soaring popularity guarantees that once the show is over, they may get good projects in hand.
The Celebrity Cricket League is yet another avenue through which stars are born as the matches are telecast live into people’s living rooms. Take Akhil Akkineni, an actor who got stardom not because of his film or family background, but because of his stint with CCL. After he represented the Telugu Warriors, he became a household name, which generated hype for his first film. Even a non-Telugu actor like Sachin Joshi, who acted in a few Telugu films and played for the Telugu Warriors, followed a similar trajectory. Tamil actor Vishal, who represents the Tamil cricket team, went on to bag a few commercials and became the face and voice of Tamil cinema.
“It depends on the popularity of that particular event or show. If you can entertain and engage the audience in a certain period of time, you are talented. These days many people become popular because of the reality shows on television, which is a big platform now,” says Tagore Madhu, adding that in recent times, many talented actors have entered Telugu cinema because of these shows.
Comedians like Shakalaka Shankar are in huge demand in Telugu cinema, but interestingly, he first started his career in a comic TV show called Jabardust. Same with Hyper Adi, who is now ruling the show and is so popular, that the film offers are pouring in. Even people like Suma, Anasuya, Reshmi and Sri Mukhi are popular because of TV shows.
“Telugu television stars are getting as popular as film actors and people follow them on social media too. In my last film, I roped in Sri Mukhi for a cameo because of her popularity on television,” says producer Abhishek Nama.
Meanwhile, director Chandra Siddharth has roped in Hyper Adi from Jabardust for his upcoming film. “I like his punchy dialogues and the way he acts with ease on the show. He is playing an important role in my film,” reveals Chandra Siddharth, who adds that nowadays, people are mostly staying at home and watching television for entertainment. “Not only the shows, even actors from serials are popular as I personally observed that a huge crowd once gathered to see a popular television actor,” he says.
Another interesting development is that earlier, Tollywood stars didn’t show any interest to host shows on television, but now top actors are coming forward. Clearly, Nagarjuna, Chiranjeevi, Rana Daggubati and now, Jr NTR all feel that television gives more popularity and mileage than films.