‘Men getting their due on small screen’

July 21st, 2011 - 11:40 am ICT by IANS  

Ekta Kapoor New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) Indian television shows are seen largely as a women’s world, but if a new soap is any indication, then happier times are here for men on the small screen.

“Parichay - Nayee Zindagi Key Sapno Ka” is being unusually promoted via a sensitive and introspective male character. The show, to go on air in August, is produced by television tsarina Ekta Kapoor for Colors channel.

“I am so glad that the show is being promoted through the male protagonist. Otherwise, almost all shows are sold through a woman and her problems. It just goes to show that men are now really getting their due on TV,” Samir Soni, who is making his comeback to fiction via this show, told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

True to the promos, the show will also be unusually “male-centric”, according to Samir.

Men have played key parts in TV shows for long, but an entire story revolving around a male character has been a rarity. Years ago, shows like “Office Office”, “Karamchand”, “Mohandas B.A.L.L.B., “Mr.Yogi”, “Shaktimaan” and “Just Mohabbat” had men in the lead. But ever since the saas-bahu sagas like “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” and “Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki” came in, women took centrestage as protagonists.

“Most shows have women in the lead and a lot of times it becomes difficult to tell one from another. So I hope this show stands out. The editors have done a great job with the promos,” Samir said.

The crisp promos are already grabbing eyeballs. Samir’s character is shown in solitude, and in the background, he narrates a diary item.

“My character is called Kunal Chopra. There’s a lot of depth in this man, he has several layers to his personality, he is multi-dimensional…and that makes him one of the best characters I have played in a long time,” said Soni, 42.

“It is tough for me to explain the character without divulging too much, but Kunal is a guy who has gone through the highs and lows of life. He has experienced a professional and personal setback. He has been a lawyer, but he doesn’t practise any more…so the show depicts his conflicts in life and how he deals with his grievances.”

“This new show is essentially a family drama. Obviously no TV serial is complete without women, but I am happy to say that our show is quite male-centric. Kunal Chopra is the main guy and he is central to the story and whatever happens happens around him,” he explained.

“There has been a lot of transition in content over the years. From the saas-bahu dramas, content moved into a more regional space with shows based in Gujarat, West Bengal and the like. They added a more ethnic flavour in Indian television. Now I see more mature, real content, through shows like ‘Bade Achche Lagte Hain’,” said the actor, who made his TV debut with “A Mouthful of Sky” in 1996.

What has not changed, however, is the work environment in the industry, he says, adding: “TV still requires a lot of hours from actors and technicians. We have to work round the clock. Also, since the competition has increased, the attention span of the audience is short, one needs to put in a lot more effort. The advent of reality TV also has changed the Indian TV industry. They are giving tough competition to fiction content.”

Samir’s brush with reality TV came with the last season of the controversial show “Bigg Boss”, after which he tied the knot with actress-turned-jewellery designer Neelam Kothari. Now he is happily settled and enjoys getting back to work!

“I was offered more reality shows after ‘Bigg Boss’, but I had to settle down and get married. Now I’m committed for 25 days in a month, so no reality show for now,” he said.

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at radhika.b@ians.in)

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