The top TV stars of 2006
The year has been interesting one for television soaps. Stereotypes were broken, new characters introduced, generation leaps happened and one of our favourite onscreen bahus grew older with a new Manish Malhotra look.

Changes occurred behind the scenes as well. Ekta Kapoor's right hand man and creative head of Balaji Telefilms, Sandip Sikand, jumped ship and joined Sony. Meanwhile Sony head honcho Tarun Katiyal decided to move to Reliance Radio.

But onscreen, the stars continued to delight us as usual. presents a list of the top five actors and actresses who had the spotlight firmly focused on them this year:

Sakshi Tanwar

Ekta Kapur's favourite bahu Parvati (Sakshi Tanwar) deserves to be in this list because of her deadly comeback.

Her show Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki is one of the most popular serials largely because of Sakshi's new look. She is proof that you don't need to work in many serials to become popular. For the last five years, she has acted in only Kahani.

Sanjeeda A R

Sanjeeda was quite happy with the way her career was progressing in Kannada, Telugu and Tamil films when she came to Mumbai to help a friend. She hopped onto the Balaji bandwagon through a lead role in Kya Hoga Nimmo Ka, which was being touted as a serial based on Ekta's life, Nimmo didn't do too well initially.

But Sanjeeda's efforts and the twists in the serial's storyline made Nimmo popular. No wonder that the girl, originally from Ahmedabad, is not going back!

Smriti Irani

No television list would be complete without Tulsi Virani -- also known as Smriti Irani. This year is no different.

She carried on the role of the ageing Tulsi with equal panache in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. In fact, she aged so gracefully in the serial that it added to her appeal to the Kyunki... audience.

Ekta Kapoor tried to introduce Krishna Tulsi (Mouni Roy) as Tulsi's younger avatar, but the Indian audience was not ready to let go of their favourite crusader against evil. Today, Mouni is relegated to making that occasional appearance.

Smriti did try to break free from the overpowering Tulsi image through a new serial, Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Sa Aasman, but expectedly failed.

Rajarshi Thakur

The actress -- who initially wanted to become a lawyer -- deserves to be in the list this year for her powerful portrayal of Saloni in Zee's Saat Phere.

Thakur, though not pretty in the traditional Indian sense, has her own sultry charm that works on many people.

She is to soon get married to fiance Sanjyot.

Prachi Desai

If innocence needed a synonym in today's Indian television industry, Prachi Desai would be the top contender.

The 17-year-old actress did wonders with her portrayal of Bani in Kasamh Se and is the undisputed number one actress of 2006. Not only did she elevate the character to a new level, but she also became one of the most popular faces in the industry.

Desai is Ekta Kapoor's latest blue-eyed-girl and there is a lot more expected from her in the years to come.

Rajeev Khandelwal

If Iqbal Khan popularised Kaisa Yeh Pyaar Hai, Rajeev Khandelwal did the same for Kaahin To Hoga.

His Sujal Grewal became synonymous with him, and his exit from the serial left everybody sad.

After he quit the show, he made a comeback with Left Right Left. Though the serial has not achieved the success of his earlier soap, it has definitely made a mark with the audience.

Besides, rumour mills are abuzz with stories of Rajeev and girlfriend Aamna Shariff doing a TV show together next year.


Probably the only veteran man in this list, Hussain has been around as one of the most popular TV heroes for a while now. He continues to be in the list for his matured performance in Kumkum after the leap, his anchoring of Shabash India and, of course, his moves in Nach Baliye 2, where he bagged the first prize along with his wife, Tina.

Eijaaz Khan

Undoubtedly one of the most handsome actors in the TV industry today, the Hyderabad-born actor became the viewers' darling with his emotional portrayal of Kavya's character in Kkavyanjali. His roles in Koi Dil Mein Hain and Kya Hoga Nimmo Ka were also applauded.

His versatility is reason enough for him to get a place amongst the top 10. But you can't ignore the looks, either!

Iqbal Khan

One of the most controversial TV actors, Iqbal's claim to fame this year is his portrayal of Angad Khanna in Kaisa Yeh Pyaar Hai. It was largely, if not solely, due to Khan that the serial achieved the popularity that it did.

Despite his not-so-cordial relation with co-star Neha Bamb, the couple won awards and went on to become one of the most popular duos in the television industry. His role in Karam Apna Apna only cemented his position in the top five list of Indian television actors.

Iqbal's fans could also see himKhan, albeit briefly, in Kkavyanjali. Incidentally, Iqbal will tie the knot with his long-time girlfriend Sneha in January 2007.

Ram Kapoor

Full credit to him for proving that you can make a matured love story work among the crowd of saas-bahu soaps.

The actor, who became popular with his portrayal of Rahul in Sony's Ghar Ek Mandir, scored once again with Kasamh Se.

The love story between a 40-plus industrialist and a girl in her early 20s caught the attention of Indian viewers because of a number of reasons: the story, and Ram Kapoor's mature acting. His gracefully graying look was a killer with the youngsters.

The actor even bagged a Best Actor award this year.

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