Mumbai , Dec 19: Mona Singh, Amna Shariff, Varun Badola, Mukesh Khanna and Narayani Shastri... 2012 was the year when several stalwarts returned to the small screen, successfully crafting new images in serials they hoped were meaningful and different. And the audiences happily welcomed them back.
Take Mona Singh, who was such a hit as the bespectacled Jassi of Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin. TV audiences loved her in the show. But she managed to break the mould with her role as the strong wife, mother and daughter-in-law Mona in Kyaa Hua Tera Vaada. The show, which deals with extra-marital affairs, has garnered good viewership since it went on air January 30.
Credit the writers for penning refreshing stories and viewers for accepting the changes.
Writers are attempting realistic and mature scripts and actors are going for a subdued look in preference over the made-up characters from the old saas-bahu serials. The trend has given more room for 'old and gold' actors to carve out a new space for themselves.
Varun Badola, who returned to the small screen after two years with Phir Subah Hogi, says: "I did not feel like doing television. Moreover, I don't and can't relate myself to the saas-bahu saga. That is the reason I kept myself away."
But then came along Phir Subah Hogi, about the Bedia community in the Bundelkhand region, and Varun was tempted to make his comeback.
Narayani Shastri, another big name, also returned to the tube with Phir Subah Hogi. Known for playing varied roles in Piya Ka Ghar, Kkusum, Kyun Ki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Mamta, the 33-year-old didn't mind coming back in the role of a mother of a grown-up girl.
Narayani is one to choose her projects based on her gut feeling, but she felt her role as a Raai dancer in Phir Subah Hogi would be challenging.
"I just could not make myself do a saas-bahu. But I liked my character (in Phir Subah Hogi), the storyline is good and, moreover, the project challenged me in every possible way - the language is different, the character is also very strange, the look is so different," she said.
The beautiful Aamna Sharif, who made her mark as the young Kashish in Kahiin To Hoga, went to try her luck in Bollywood with films like Aloo Chat and Aao Wish Karein. She made a U-turn to television with the romantic show Honge Judaa Na Hum this year. It was a hiatus of five years.
"My last show Kahiin To Hoga was a success and my character was loved by people; so I did not want to do anything that was not of the same level. So, I just could not take up anything for the heck of it," says Aamna.
Rightly so - her youthful character suits her well, and her soft romance with Raqesh Vashisht draws in young viewers, who rarely have options in terms of Hindi fiction shows.
Rakhi Vijjan, the crazy Sweety of Hum Paanch, had bounced back to the small screen in 2007 with reality show Bigg Boss 2, but she maintained a distance from fiction shows for a while before she was offered to play a film actor named Roma in Madhubala. That helped open more doors for her and she recently entered another show, Mrs. Kaushik Ki Paanch Bahuein.
Manav Gohil is another name that can be counted in the comeback list. Last seen in Zee TV's Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo in 2010, he was back in Channel V's The Buddy Project.
And who can forget Mukesh Khanna, the Shaktimaan of Indian television? He now plays a grandfather in Pyaar Ka Dard Hai, Meetha Meetha Pyara Pyara.
The industry is constantly opening doors for freshers. But old is gold, and the small screen welcomed its veterans back too this year.