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Old 05-27-2011, 10:23 PM
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Default The long and short of TV cameos

Recently, Abhishek Bachchan and his Dum Maaro Dum co-star Rana Dagubatti made a brief appearance in Maryada. They were not just plugging their latest film but had also became an integral part of the show for a short time, when they raided a rave party in Goa, which the serial’s protagonists Priya and Aditya were part of.

Television is suddenly seeing a trend of getting stars, especially talented veteran names to play significant but small parts called the cameo to keep their shows going. Take for instance, Payal Rohatgi. She has been in the news for all the wrong reasons but will soon be seen in an episode on CID. She says she has signed this one for the opportunity to work with a stalwart like Shivaji Satam.

When the very popular Hiten Tejwani (best remembered as Pratham in Kutumb) faded from the small screen his fans were devastated, so much so that they participated in an online petition to bring him back. But ultimately, when he decided to return it was with a cameo in Rang Badalti Odhani where he played the role of a cancer-stricken villager, a la Rajesh Khanna in Anand. However brief his appearance, he received a good response. Now the same show has yet another cameo by Manini Mishra (last seen in Naagin almost two years ago) as Sasha, a NRI and Rajesh Puri (iconic Lalloo of Hum Log). And now we hear their roles will soon end thus defining what a cameo really means.

Two other cameos in recent times have been of Sharad Kelkar and Harsha Khandeperkar in Uttaran. They play brother and sister in this top-rated show and in fact, now are at the fag end of their roles. They will soon make an exit from the show but only after having made a positive impact on the viewers.

So why does an actor sign a cameo? By cameos, I mean actors signing for parts seen in only a few episodes or at times even just a single episode.
In fact, sometimes they do not even have enough lines. First let us understand why a cameo is introduced to a show.

Often a story has reached a point of no return (like it happens in many of our long-running shows). So to woo the viewers back into the show, the creative team decides to bring in a character that may ignite the old fire.
At other times, a cameo is brought in for relief. Like a heavy ‘tragic’ story needs someone to bring in the laughter etc.
In other cases, a feel-good show may introduce a negative character which may in turn bring in a twist to the show. It is buzzed that Sasural Genda Phool may soon be bringing in a villain!

For an actor signing on a cameo may work wonders. If he has been out of circulation for some time with no big roles coming his way, signing on a small but meaningful role may bring him back into limelight. So when Shaleen Bhanot made an appearance in Beend Banoongaa Ghodi Chadhunga after almost six long months it made sense to him.

For all those who have admired Pawan Malhotra as the father of the two girls in the tragic Choti Si Zindagi, he says he believes in cameos. He says when he is not offered the right kind of roles he prefers to accept cameos rather than go out of sight. He also adds in most shows the initial episodes are always very interesting. It was with this logic that he signed on Laagi Tujhse Lagan where he played a corrupt cop and the accolades came pouring in.

A trend that has been picking up of late is that of Bollywood actors appearing in cameos on TV shows. This of course is to promote their films. Recently, child star Darsheel Safary made an appearance in Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah to plug his new film, Zokomon. The most talked-about one such cameo was of Mallika Sherawat’s when she entered Na Aana Iss Des Laado and promoted Hiss. In fact some reality shows also have Bollywood actors doing stand-up acts.

But what started as a win-win for both the sides is not such a great idea any longer with the novelty wearing off.

But what will always linger is a role well enacted. Like Salman Khan’s in Laagi Tujhse Lagan where he helped Nakusha understand a situation better or Abhishek Bachchan in Maryada or closer home, Sakshi Tanwar as the vengeful Teepri, who was brought in to play a brief part in Balika Vadhu but she overstayed as the ratings shot up.

So in the end it’s all about work well done. And maybe, it’s all about getting a good actor to play a memorable part.

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