Small screen hunks gaining high TRPs

Daily soaps, otherwise said to be the female protagonists' ruling ground, are now witnessing winds of change. With good looking male protagonists casting a spell on viewers, the tables are turning for sure as the TRPs of these shows are soaring too. 

Ram Kapoor with his powerpacked performance in 'Bade Achche Laggte Hain', telly heartthrob Barun Sobti's emphatic screen presence in 'Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?', Mohit Raina as Mahadev (in Devon Ke Dev Mahadev), new entrant Siddharth Shukla in 'Balika Vadhu —Kacchi Umar Ke Pakke Rishte', Gurmeet Choudhary's good performance in 'Punar Vivah', Karan Tacker and Kushal Tandon in 'Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hai', Vivian D'sena in 'Madhubala...Ek Ishq Ek Junoon' as RK and Ronit Roy as the maverick lawyer KD Pathak in 'Adalaat', are examples of how strong male protagonists can play a significant role in helping shows climb popularity charts.

So what exactly is the reason why the male stars are being given more screen time all of a sudden in predominantly women-oriented shows? Producer Saurabh Tewari explains, "Earlier, shows would only focus on kitchen politics. Now soaps are trying out fresher subjects. There have been exceptions like Ronit Roy as Rishabh Bajaj in 'Kasautii Zindagi Kay' or Ram Kapoor as Jai Walia in 'Kasamh Se', who were prominent soap characters some years ago. Now a whole lot of shows are primarily love stories, so the male protagonist obviously has a bigger role to play."

Rajan Shahi puts it this way, "While a goodlooking hero is a huge plus, it's the character that's important and not vice versa. The star is the character and he might have a signature style and screen presence, but his popularity is because of the role he's essaying and that gets us the eyeballs."

Do male superstars enjoy their new found prominence (read: meatier role) in the daily soaps? Siddharth Shukla modestly says, "A good supporting cast, strong script and story-line fetch TRPs. As an actor my fan-following might get more viewers, but what matters is the storyline."

Of course the small screen hotties are more than content with the larger screen attention that the scripts are offering them. Says Barun Sobti, "Trends on TV keep changing. Earlier saas-bahu stories ruled, then small town girls were the focus and currently love stories are the flavour. That's why the male protagonist becomes so important. Luckily, I've been part of projects that have given me equal prominence as that of my female counterpart in a show."

With telly's droolworthy dudes burning up the screens and making the audiences go weak-kneed with their sheer presence, the TRPs are only soaring north, much to the collective delight of showmakers and channels.

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