New Delhi: After making their presence felt on reality shows, Bollywood stars are now increasingly appearing in cameos on television serials to promote their upcoming films.
Stars like Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham, Salman Khan, Mallika Sherawat and Neetu Kapoor are increasingly making a beeline for serials.
This arrangement benefits both big and small screen stars, experts say.
"Television is the best way to connect with the audience," Aatish Kapadia, writer-director of ‘Khichdi-The Movie’, told reporters on phone from Mumbai. Episodes featuring stars tend to have higher viewership, and the practice adds novelty to the show, he added.
The cast of Kapadia`s movie, including Supriya Pathak, Anang Desai, Rajeev Mehta, J.D. Mathejia and Nimisha Vakharia, appeared on a Ganesh Chaturthi special episode of an entertainment channel’s popular show ‘Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma’.
On many occasions, the scripts of TV serials are tweaked to accommodate film stars.
"A lot depends upon the content of the show and the film. The actors can be weaved into the script in such a way that viewers can connect with them," added Kapadia.
Abhishek Bachchan made an appearance on another show of an entertainment channel ‘Balika Vadhu’ prior to the release of his box office dud ‘Drona’, while actors Sharman Joshi and Vatsal Seth had appeared on a Valentine`s Day special of ‘Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma’, keeping in mind their romantic comedy ‘Toh Baat Pakki’.
Actor Ajay Devgn too made a guest appearance on the show to promote his film ‘All The Best’, and will feature in an upcoming episode of ‘Crime Patrol’ to promote ‘Aakrosh’, a film about honour killings.
Bollywood veterans Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor too starred in ‘Taarak Mehta…’ to promote their recent release ‘Do Dooni Chaar’.
"The small screen has a huge and dedicated audience. Somehow, the characters of our film could be integrated into the show as both are aimed at family audiences," the film`s director Habib Faisal told reporters.
"The characters of the show (‘Taarak Mehta…’) are popular as well, and both Rishiji and Neetuji really enjoyed shooting for the show," he added.
Other stars bitten by the `serial` bug include John Abraham, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Emraan Hashmi and Prachi Desai.
While Akshay had a cameo appearance on an entertainment channel’s show ‘Sasural Genda Phool’ for his movie ‘Khatta Meetha’, Salman Khan was seen promoting ‘Dabangg’ on ‘Laagi Tujhse Lagan’, aired on an entertainment channel.
Emraan Hashmi and Prachi Desai made a guest appearance on Sony`s long-running detective show ‘CID’ for ‘Once Upon A Time in Mumbai’, and Emraan recently featured on ‘Sajan Re Jhoot Mat Bolo’ to promote his film ‘Crook’.
John is set to feature on two shows of an entertainment channel, ‘FIR’ and ‘Taarak Mehta…’, where he will be seen promoting Abbas Tyrewala`s ‘Jhootha Hi Sahi’.
Mallika Sherawat too will make an appearance on show ‘Naa Aana Iss Des Ladoo’ to promote her much-awaited film ‘Hisss’, in which she plays a snake woman.
But do these ways of film promotion work?
Though actors have been appearing on music and dance reality shows, television serials are still untested waters.
Industry watchers feel the trend has lost its novelty factor, and does not have a major impact on the audience.