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Going, going...

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Mili Swarnakar (Bollywood News Service)   |     |   Published 24.10.07, 12:00 AM

It’s something of a joke. And an age-old telly practice. An actor in a TV soap can be suddenly and inexplicably replaced by a totally different face the next day! Or he may suddenly drop dead within the matter of an episode and stop appearing in the serial with no logical reason offered.

The behind-the-scenes story always follows the same script without fail — the actor has walked out, with the small-screen power woman Ektaa Kapoor even admitting on Koffee with Karan that it is walkouts by actors that she fears the most in the daily grind of television.

Why then are there so many walkouts on TV?

1.When they want a break without breaking ties...

She was the most recognised bahu of satellite television but Smriti Iraani aka Tulsi of the never ending Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi decided that she needed to spread her wings further. Smriti started her own production house and when two of her shows went on air (Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Asmaan on STAR Plus and Viruddh on Sony), she asked Ektaa Kapoor for a break and one muggy night, surprised viewers tuned in to find Tulsi had suddenly assumed the (rather more lissome) shape of Gautami Kapoor. Post Smriti’s exit, Kyunki has been displaced from its number one position for the first time in seven years. The former Tulsi wins round one of the Smriti-Ektaa duel.

2. When they are bored of playing the same ol’ character...

Kiran Karmarkar left Kahanii Ghar Ghar Kii after enacting several highs and lows of his character Om for half a decade! He quit saying that he was bored of playing the same character for such a long time. A couple of nondescript roles later (including an attempt at stand-up comedy), Kiran has re-entered Kahaani, although he plays a different character this time around.

3.When their vanity doesn’t allow them to grey...

Who can forget the uproar the audience went through when the character of Mihir Virani, then played by Amarr Upadhyay, died in Kyunki? The nation went into collective mourning forcing Ektaa to bring the character back into the show.

But when the show went in for one of its periodic generation leaps, Amarr felt that playing a greying father to a 27-year-old would spoil his romantic image. He chose films over Kyunki. A minuscule role in a Ramsay horror flick followed soon after, and he hasn’t been seen on the big screen ever since.

Generation leaps often have actors taking a big leap — away from the show! Small-timer Neha Mehta who became a household name playing the title role in Zee TV’s Mamta, chucked it all up and walked out of the daily drama when she discovered that she would have to play an ageing mother, post a much publicised generation leap. She hasn’t done anything worth mentioning after that.

4.When they are disgruntled with the role...

Rajeev Khandelwal wins top honours in this category. Television’s most popular star committed professional hara kiri when he chose to walk out of the role of Sujal in Kahiin To Hoga saying that his role in the serial wasn’t going anywhere. Try as he might, the maverick actor couldn’t ever repeat the Sujal success. He has also recently walked out of Left Right Left on SAB TV.

Nikhil Arya aka Rudra of the now off-air Balaji show Kesar was offered a meaty role in Kasturi (Balaji again) but when he found that things were not like he had been promised, he walked right off the set... and kept walking.

Sameer Soni who played Purab in Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin also had problems with the way his character was developing. A public poll found him a better match for Jassi than the character of Armaan (played by Apoorva Agnihotri) and yet Sameer chose to walk out of the show. He wasn’t missed.

5.When their character TURNS OUT TO BE successful AND POPULAR...

Too much of a good thing can prove to be bad at times. Mohnish Behl happily signed on for the role of the heroine’s father in mentor Ektaa Kapoor’s Kayamath but when the favourable response to his character saw his role being extended, Mohnish, who had other prior commitments, could not continue as the daddy anymore. Ektaa’s favourite Ronit Roy replaced him.

6. When they have a fallout...

Prachi Shah, who is now seen in Kayamath as leading lady Panchi Bora’s mother, was also a part of Ektaa Kapoor’s Kyunki…. but a squabble with the director had her quitting the show.

Kyunki...will soon enter the television hall of fame (if there is one) for having seen the maximum number of walk-outs. Ketki Dave, who became a television icon with her portrayal of Daksha, chose to walk out of the serial when she was asked to do a spoof on a fellow actor. She has, since then, made a comeback to the serial. But others like Shakti Anand, Inder Kumar and Hussain have not.

7.When they want to sidestep rumours...

The lead pair of Kaajjal, Surveen Chawla and Apoorva Agnihotri, had excellent on-screen chemistry but when the media linked them up, the rumours affected their working relationship. Eventually, to avoid any further complications, both decided to quit the show. The producers of the serial went in for a reincarnation twist to the plot.

8.When Cupid strikes...

Dolly Sohi who was playing the lead in Bhabhi quit the show at the peak of its popularity when she chose marriage over career. Love ke liye saala kuch bhi karega.

9.When they want more moolah...

After Dolly’s exit, Rucha Gujarati took over Bhabhi. All was fine till the producers of the show wanted to go in for a leap. Rucha was initially reluctant to play an older character but she was willing to agree on condition of a fee hike. The production house did not comply with her demand and Rucha staged a walkout.

10.When no reason IS GOod enough...

Talk about being whimsical. Iqbal Khan was the hottest hunk on television. After playing Angad of Kaisa Yeh Pyaar Hai, Shaurya of Kkavyanjali and Shiv of Karam Apna Apna, Iqbal decided on a post-marriage sabbatical and quit all serials. That earned the ire of Iqbal’s one-time mentor Ektaa, who pulled out all the stops to ensure that other producers thought twice before signing on the small-screen Khan for their television projects. However, Iqbal has now returned with a new Balaji serial.

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