Kamal Haasan, Mohanlal, Jr. NTR, Nani, and other South cinema stars make a splash on television — from Bigg Boss to No. 1 Yaari

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Jun 02, 2018 12:00:15 IST

Television is one of the biggest mediums of entertainment in India, despite the growing popularity of online streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon. In 2017, three of the biggest southern stars – Kamal Haasan, Chiranjeevi and Mohanlal – made their television debut amid high excitement and expectations. While Haasan was roped in to host the Tamil version of the widely popular reality show Bigg Boss, his Malayalam counterpart Mohanlal was signed on to host a celebrity chat show called Lal Salaam. Megastar Chiranjeevi made his entry into television with the show Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu, the Telugu version of Kaun Banega Crorepati. Last year also saw Jr. NTR, the popular Telugu star; make inroads into television via the Telugu version of Bigg Boss.

What’s luring these stars towards television? Is it the money or the fact that this medium has a wider reach?

For actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan, who rocked as the host of Tamil Bigg Boss and is all set to soon return for the second season, television debut meant big bucks. In a media interaction soon after he was signed as the host of the show last year, he said that he’s in this for the money. “When it comes to movies, you have to sell tickets and bring the audience. In television, you’re catering to audiences who are already there. The demography of the audience and the number of people you can reach via television made me take this.” Haasan went on to add that actors in Hollywood don’t mind doing a TV series in between films because the money is good.

Both Kamal Haasan and Jr NTR host Bigg Boss ( Tamil and Telugu respectively). Image via Twitter

Both Kamal Haasan and Jr NTR host Bigg Boss ( Tamil and Telugu respectively). Image via Twitter

Jr. NTR, on the other hand, said the opportunity to foray into television medium helped him to discover himself and open up more. In an earlier chat, he said: “In films, I’m playing someone else and I’m expected to fill in someone else’s shoes. Bigg Boss is one place where I could be myself. I didn’t have to pretend to be someone else. Bigg Boss reflects my true self. It helped me to open up.”

He had also said that he accepted the offer because the challenge it came with intrigued him.

Actor Nani replaces NTR as the host for the second season of Telugu Bigg Boss, which goes on air from 10 June. In an exclusive chat with Firstpost, Nani said that he accepted the offer because he wanted to challenge himself.

“The reach on television is huge, but I took up this offer just to see if I can pull this off. I’ve always wanted to explore new things in life. Be it the roles I do in my films or the endeavors I take up, I’ve tried to challenge myself and this is one such attempt,” he said.

According to the industry grapevine, Tamil actor Vishal will soon make his television debut. Apparently, the star will be seen hosting a celebrity-based show on the sidelines of the Meme Saitham, the Telugu show popularised by actress Lakshmi Manchu. In a recent media interaction, Vishal confirmed signing on the dotted line for the show but he didn’t divulge information about the nature of the program.

Actor Rana Daggubati, who turned TV host with the fun show No 1. Yaari, had said it was a truly different experience. He also said there’s so much more to figure out in this medium.

In an earlier chat, he said: “I loved exploring this space; it was exciting. This medium has been explored by seniors like Nagarjuna and Chiranjeevi. I believe I’m yet to truly understand its full potential. I’m yet to completely figure out.”

Updated Date: Jun 02, 2018 12:00:15 IST