While many say that the bridge between Television and Films is slowly narrowing if we go back in time, we will see that earlier too their have been film people coming in as hosts of TV shows. The latest news is of the serious actor Irrfan Khan who will be hosting The Emergency Room, a show on National Geographic Channel which will reveal the happenings inside the emergency ward of a hospital. This is however not his first outing as a TV host, since Irrfan has earlier hosted some episodes of Mano Ya Na Mano and has also been part of serials like Chandrakanta and Chanakya. Another actor who has made a mark in both TV and films, Vikrant Massey is ready to make his debut as a TV show host with Yeh Hai Aashqui on Bindaas.
Abhay Deol is currently hosting the prime time show Connected Hum Tum on Zee TV and had said that he had all these days never looked at TV but was now eager to play the host but his presence on the show has not shown much difference when it comes to ratings. After hosting shows like Khelo Jeeto Jiyo on Star Plus and What Not to Wear on TLC, the thinking actor Soha Ali Khan was quite excited to return to the small screen as a host for the children's special show Spell Bee – India Spells season five on Discovery Network.
While these are all current names who have come to host shows for Television from Films, the biggest name to make that transition was superstar Amitabh Bachchan who took quiz competitions to the dining room. He was at a low point in his career and TV gave him a much needed boost with Kaun Banega Crorepati which is still a hugely popular programme. When Mr. Bachchan took ill after hosting the first two seasons, Shah Rukh Khan, the original TV lad who became the King Khan of films came back to do TV – first as a host for Kaun Banega Crorepati for a year in 2007 and then as a host for the kids quiz show Kya Aap Panchvi Pass Se Tez Hai? in 2008 both on Star Plus. In 2011, he returned to TV with Zor Ka Jhatka: Total Wipeout on Imagine TV while Big B returned to KBC.
Proclaimed to be the next big thing after KBC was one more game show which had a big name as a host. So after Bade Miyan (Amitabh Bachchan) came with KBC in 2000 it was time for Chhote Miyan (Govinda Ahuja) to come on TV with Jeeto Chhapar Phaad ke on Sony TV in 2001.
At the same time the beautiful actress Manisha Koirala came in the show Sawaal Dus Crore Ka (2000) on Zee TV with co-host Anupam Kher, another well-known character actor from Bollywood. While Jeeto Chhapar Phaad Ke was a big hit, Sawaal Dus Crore Ka was a disaster and after Anupam Kher's sudden exit from the show it was left to another film actor Ashutosh Rana to take over the reins. However it didn't help and after much controversy the show was discontinued mid-way. Anupam Kher however later went on to becoming a much loved host amongst kids for his show Say Na Something to Anupam Uncle (2001) on Sab TV. A show meant only for kids, it had kids and sometimes the parents too coming in as guests and the kids enjoyed being their own self on the show even as Anupam uncle listened and advised them.
Not to be left behind is the much loved Salman Khan who has been successfully hosting Bigg Boss after his film colleagues Shilpa Shetty and Arshad Warsi who were the hosts earlier. His pal Sanjay Dutt too joined in hosting the show for one season and together the two were a riot on Bigg Boss season 5! Film star Akshay Kumar too chose a show which suited his personality – that of a rough and tough guy ready to perform daredevil stunts at the drop of a hat. In 2008, he came in as the host of Fear Factor: Khatron ke Khiladi – Season 1, and later for season 3 and 4 on Colors while the Season 2 for the same show was hosted by Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra who guided all the men into performing stunts. Akshay's stint as a cook in Bangkok before his acting career and his love for cooking also made him the perfect host for television's first cooking reality show MasterChef India Season 1 and 2 on Star Plus.
Preity Zinta got into Television hosting with the show Guiness Book of World Records - Ab India Todega in 2011 which was followed by a celebrity chat show Up, Close and Personal with Preity Zinta produced by Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment. The pretty and bubbly actress was full of enthusiasm in both the shows, but however she returned back to her original love – films.
Following his father's footsteps was Abhishek Bachchan who hosted the game show National Bingo Night on Colors in 2010. While he kept up the tempo of the interactive game show, Abhishek never ventured into TV again. The heartthrob of Television, Rajeev Khandelwal took his filmy debut flight in Aamir in 2008 but was back to TV to host Deal Ya No Deal, Sach ka Saamna and the latest being Sach ka Saamna Phir se Hoga in 2012.
Currently riding on the success of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, actor, director, producer Farhan Akhtar was once a host of an NDTV show Oye! It's Friday! Launched way back in 2008 on NDTV it was a variety entertainment show featuring a new celeb every week. Farhan's cousin, choreographer – director of hit Hindi films, Farah Khan is popular as a judge in many shows but even she hosted a chat show – Tere Mere Beech Mein on Star Plus in 2009. Farah's brother, the laugh riot Sajid Khan who is now a director for commercial Hindi movies started his TV career by a show Kehne Mein Kya Harz Hai which was a huge hit. Even after moving on to films, Sajid hosted the talk show Sajid's Superstars in 2008 on Colors.
A similar but witty format was Karan Johar's Koffee with Karan on Star which was launched in 2004 and was popular amongst the young audience. After four years and many re-runs later on Star World, the show returned on screen in 2010 for a third season which ended in 2011. Karan would have Bollywood actors as his guests and they would be quizzed about their personal life followed by a fun contest to win the coffee hamper. A classy version of the same was the graceful Simi Garewal's Rendevous with Simi Garewal. Wearing her signature white clothes and silken hair Simi was a picture of perfect poise on a polished set. The show saw many a Bollywood celeb letting their guard down as they got emotional talking about personal lives and family.
The latest to join the line of hosts has been Raveena Tandon who hosted It's My Life on NDTV in 2012 which was a fresh avatar of the celeb show Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai earlier hosted by the affable and dignified Farooq Shaikh for Zee TV in 2002. The show's format of inviting a big star or celeb on the show and then getting their friends and family to come on the show to talk about the star was a huge hit as secrets were unraveled and the audience got to know the human side of the star. However while Jeena… was an award winning talk show which ran for two seasons, Raveena's attempt at hosting was not all that well appreciated.
The leggy lass, Sonali Bendre who has now made a mark as a glamorous judge for various shows first came as a host on Kya Masti Kya Dhoom (2001) on Star Plus, a show to find talent amongst kids and youngsters in the age category of 8 to 18 years.
Small timers Ashmit Patel and Ayesha Takia too took to hosting TV shows when there was not much left for them in films. While Ashmit was a host for Bindass Superstud (2010) followed by Superdude (2012) on UTV Bindass, the buxom Ayesha was seen hosting the singing reality show Sur Kshetra in 2012 which saw a battle of singing talents from India and Pakistan on Sahara One.
The one who has been really different from the rest has been the talk show on Star Plus. With Aamir Khan as the host marking his debut on Indian Television the show highlighted sensitive social issues prevalent in India. Hesitant at first, Aamir the perfectionist took two years to research and finalise the concept of the show and once it was on air it took the nation by storm and opened to highly positive response and appreciation from all.
With so many big and small film personalities making their mark on Television it is still a wonder as to why it is still referred to as the small screen. As far as we know none of these film stars have ever thought as much!
Seema Khot Mattoo