Social-distancing and home-quarantine regulations have been keeping many Indians home in the past few months as the coronavirus pandemic continues to grip the nation. People have turned to streaming television shows to beat boredom of the lockdown, re-watching old favourites for light entertainment and comfort and discovering newer web series.
As we inch closer to the first ‘Unlock’ phase, we celebrate some of the best shows-- that were unanimously enjoyed by the entire nation-- by highlighting the actors who made them possible. From immortal turns from acting giants like Arun Govil and Nitish Bharadwaj to young breakouts and Bollywood mainstays such as Jaideep Ahlawat, Kirti Kulhari and Ishwak Singh, here's a look at the actors who entertained and inspired the country during the lockdown:
Ramanand Sagar’s mythological TV drama Ramayan, which aired between 1987 and 1988, turned Arun Govil into a household name with his incredible portrayal of Lord Rama. Even though the show became a phenomenon in the country, its cast eventually disappeared from the scene. However, the show's re-telecast amid the nationwide lockdown brought Govil and his co-actors Dipika Chikhlia and Sunil Lahri back to the limelight, making Ramayan one of the most-viewed shows in the history of the Indian television.
In what is considered his most iconic role to date, Nitish Bharadwaj mesmerised the viewers when he featured as Lord Krishna in BR Chopra's Mahabharat in 1988. With his brilliant acting skills and irresistible charm, Bharadwaj disappeared into the role of Krishna and made the audience forget that they were seeing a performance in the first place. Mahabharat's recent re-run put the senior actor in spotlight once again, earning him due recognition.
In his decade-long career, Jaideep Ahlawat has consistently given critically-acclaimed performances, but received little recognition or always seem shunted into secondary or tertiary roles in big blockbusters like Gabbar is Back, Vishwaroopam II and Baaghi 3 that often don't do justice to his talent. However, what finally put his staggering acting abilities in front of a bigger audience was Anushka Sharma's recent web production Pataal Lok, in which he plays the role of a low-ranked police officer Hathiram Chaudhary whose integrity is put to test when four suspects are arrested for the assassination attempt of a high flying journalist.
Kirti Kulhari stole many hearts with her stunning turn as a successful lawyer and a single mother, Anjana, in Four More Shots Please! season two. The actress defies onscreen – and societal – stereotypes about mothers by brilliantly capturing the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of Anjana. Earlier, in an interaction with us, Kirti had said, "I'm glad that people could relate to a character like Anjana's and see this very important aspect of her in the show where she challenges all these ideas and mindsets and actually starts looking out for herself in every single way whether it's sex or love. She drops all the guilt and shame attached to it and decides to stand up for herself and do what needs to be done."
Pataal Lok produced several breakout stars — and Ishwak Singh was a standout, playing police inspector Imran Ansari, a law-abiding, soft-spoken and a thorough gentleman, who is a new recruit in the police department and the right hand of Jaideep Ahlawat’s Hathiram Chaudhary. Ishwak was widely praised for portraying the character with utmost sensitivity and grace.
Ridhi Dogra made an impressive onscreen comeback with a psychological thriller Asur. The eight-episode series saw Ridhi play the role of one of the CBI's most talented officers, named Nusrat Saeed. She is fierce, brave and loyal. But just because she's often stuck behind the desk doesn't mean she doesn't know how to take action.