Last week, TV actor Jiaa Manek aka Gopi bahu was expelled overnight from a serial Saath Nibhaana Saathiya aired on Star Plus. The reason apparently was her being ambitious and taking on another show, Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa of a rival channel, Colors leading to time mismanagement. Star Plus had even sent a statement saying, “Saath Nibhana Saathiya will see a new face essaying the role of ‘Gopi Bahu’, the lead protagonist of the show; which has been played by Jiaa Manek since its launch. The association with Jiaa Manek has however been discontinued with immediate effect, due to unprofessional conduct and breach of contract from the actor’s side.”
The move has created unrest among the actors. Hina Khan, who is playing the main lead in Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai was also approached for two reality shows but couldn’t do them because the channel did not permit her. Says Hina, “Channels should understand that this is the only time we can earn money. Though there is a clause of exclusivity in our contracts, I think if we ask for permission, we should be allowed and if not, they should provide us a similar platform (reality shows).” Not just reality shows, even a fiction soap is a strict no-no. Sarwar Ahuja, who was doing Zee’s Punarvivah was unceremoniously dropped when he decided to do Life Ok’s Shapath. Says a Zee spokesperson, “If Sarvar had informed us that he is doing the show, it wouldn’t have been a problem but he went behind our backs.” It is also rumoured that Bharti Singh, part of Sony’s Comedy Circus doing Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa hasn’t gone down well with Sony. Actors, however feel that as long as the competitive show is not aired in the same slot, there shouldn’t be any problem.
Yet, there are instances of lead daily soap actors doing two shows at a time like Gurmeet Choudhary of Punarvivah is currently shaking his leg in Jhalak Dikhhla Ja. Says Sukesh Motwani, fiction head, Zee, “Our broad view is pragmatic, it depends on the professionalism and commitment displayed by our actors. It’s taken up on a case-to-case basis.”
Even earlier, Pavitra Rishta's Sushant Singh Rajput and Ankita Lokhande had participated in a reality show and so did Ragini Khanna and Jay Soni of Sasural Genda Phool in different shows. The reason channels are wary of their artistes doing reality shows is that it might hamper the image of the character he/she is playing in the serial, which is why an early ouster of Gurmeet is expected, especially as he hasn’t proved to be a good dancer so far!