When South film stars descend on television
The glitz and glamour of the big screen may be missing from the small screen, but television is no less attractive to popular film stars.
With megastars like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan boldly taking the plunge, the small screen has become even more attractive to our top stars from the South.
Here is a look at some of the highly acclaimed actors from the South Indian film industry who have chosen to turn to television to reach out to a wider audience.
After blockbusters like Kaakha Kaakha, Ghajini, and Singam, actor Suriya's popularity has reached an all-time high. Today he is one of the most sought after and bankable stars of Tamil cinema.
Suriya was also among the first to make his debut as a TV presenter in 2012.
His natural charm and screen presence made him the ideal choice to host the popular game show, Neengalum Vellalam Oru Kodi, the Tamil version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
The show was aired on Star Vijay and offered a cash prize of Rs 1 crore to the winner.
One of the most versatile actors of Indian cinema, Prakash Raj has made his mark in all four South Indian languages. He has also worked in several Hindi films.
Prakash Raj was a street theatre performer in Bangalore and later worked in Kannada television.
In 2003, he made an appearance in his mentor K Balachander's Tamil television serial Sahana.
Last year, Prakash Raj returned to the small screen once again, when he successfully took over from Suriya to host the second season of Neengalum Vellalam Oru Kodi.
Image: Prakash Raj
Telugu superstar Nagarjuna Akkineni, known for his romantic films, ventured onto the small screen as a producer with the serial Yuva, in 2007.
His production company, Annapurna Studios, is also currently producing Pasupu Kunkuma, a popular Telugu serial on Zee TV.
Nagarjuna made his debut as a TV host this year with the Telugu version of Kaun Banega Crorepati titled Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu, which premiered on June 9.
Super star of Malayalam cinema, Suresh Gopi, known for his roles in police dramas and family action-dramas, has over 200 films to his credit.
He was the host of the Malayalam version of Kaun Banega Crorepati.
Ningalkkum Aakaam Kodeeshwaran was telecast on Asianet and became the rage with audiences.
Image: Suresh Gopi
Puneeth Rajkumar, the youngest son of the iconic superstar Rajkumar, is one of the most successful actors of Kannada cinema with many of his films crossing the 100 day run at the box office.
In 2012, Puneeth hosted the first season of Kannadada Kotyadhipati, the Kannada language adaptation of the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
The show was aired on Star Network’s Asianet Suvarna and was such a phenomenal success that Puneeth went on to host the second season in 2013.
Image: Puneeth Rajkumar
Kiccha Sudeep is one of the most popular actors of Kannada cinema. His outstanding performance in a negative role in the National Award winning Telugu blockbuster Eega, earned him rave reviews and national recognition.
Sudeep started his career with a TV serial titled Premada Kadambari that was aired on Udaya TV.
In 2010, Sudeep hosted a reality show titled Pyate Hudgeer-Halli Lifu, which was about how well city girls adapted to village life. The show was aired in Asianet Suvarna and was a huge success.
Sudeep also hosted the Kannada version of the reality show Bigg Boss, which shot the TRP ratings through the roof. He is currently hosting season 2 of the show on Asianet Suvarna, which kicked off just last weekend.
Popular Malayalam actor/producer Mukesh is known for his comedy and drama centered roles.
Mukesh was the host of several popular reality shows like Kodeeswaran (2000), Super Talent (2009) and Deal or No Deal (2009)aired on Surya TV.
He is currently hosting Badai Bungalow along with renowned comedian, Ramesh Pisharadi.
It is a stage based show, with a mix of comedy skits, interviews and chats. The show has a live audience that interacts with the family members of the Badai Bungalow and its guests.
Actress-turned-politician Khushboo, the darling of Tamil cinema, was so popular in the 1990s that her fans dedicated a temple to her at Trichy.
She worked with all the top stars of the Southern film industry and became one of the leading actresses of her time.
Khushboo is also one of the biggest successes of the small screen. She worked in several popular serials like Kalki, Janani and Kungumam.
She then went on to anchor Jaya TV's Jackpot, which became a huge sensation.
Khushboo has also appeared as a judge in popular reality shows like Maanada Mayilada and Azhagiya Thamizh Maghan.
Actor/director/producer Suhasini made her acting debut in 1980 with the Tamil film Nenjathai Killathe and since then has successfully worked in over 120 films in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada.
She made her debut on the small screen as a director in a Tamil serial titled Penn in 1991.
In 2008, she hosted MAA TV’s Bommarillu, one of the costliest game shows on Telugu television and the first of its kind.
Suhasini’s Hasini Pesum Padam giving insights, in-depth analysis and reviews on films, both Indian and foreign, was one of the most popular as well controversial talk shows aired on Jaya TV.
Image: Suhasini Maniratnam
A heartthrob of millions, the gorgeous Simran ruled the Tamil and Telugu film industries in the late 1990s and early 2000s. She had numerous hits and was considered one of the biggest crowd pullers of the southern film industry.
After her marriage, she decided to take a break and moved to the small screen where she acted in Jaya TV's Simran Thirai, a series of mini serials all featuring her in the lead role.
She then worked in a Telugu serial, Sundarakanda, for Gemini TV, which won the highest TRP rating as ‘The Most Watched Serial’ and was later dubbed in Tamil as Sundarakandam.
Simran is currently the host of Jackpot, a popular game show aired on Jaya TV. The show was earlier hosted by Kushboo and Nadhiya.