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They've taken over your drawing rooms. And now they dictate your choices and preferences in life. Tellydom has taken over commercials and most ad filmmakers feel it's easier to cast them because they come "cheap" and they "appeal to the masses".
Says adman Prahlad Kakkar, "TV actors are the poor man's version of film stars. And it definitely is an advantage to work with them. They come cheap. If Shah Rukh Khan asks for Rs 3 crore, a TV actor would probably ask for Rs 20 lakh. Apart from that, TV actors are also good with their work."
Ad filmmaker Prasoon Joshi adds that the popularity of TV stars has been growing over the years. He explains that unlike Bollywood, the character TV stars play on screen becomes their identity. "Most people don't know Jassi or Tulsi's real name. And because of this people can relate easily to them."
TV actor Simone Singh who's also the face of Garnier hair colour, Pantene and Lakme says, "We bring equity with the product. We are endorsing the brand and the masses who see us on TV everyday can relate to that." Does she believe in the product she sells? "Of course I stand by the product I endorse," she avers.
Believability is also important. Explains Bauddhayan Mukherji, director and partner Black Magic Motion Pictures: "If the TV actor portrays a negative character on screen, the believability of the product goes for a toss. There was a time when we were strictly asked not to use TV actors. You have to have believable faces saying believable things."
But he adds, "Of course, TV stars come at a low price. It's also easy to work with them because you don't have to teach them to act."
But Pooja Ghai Rawal who has done several TV commercials differs. "Acting for a show and doing a commercial is very different. For a serial you are given at least a minute to deliver one sentence. But for a commercial you have to say five sentences in 30 seconds. It's not easy. I have worked with several TV actors who don't have a sense of timing," she says. However, she agrees with the fact that TV stars definitely create an impact with the masses.
But some ad filmmakers also believe that mass appeal is limited to certain kind of products. So make lather while the soap lasts!