Balika Vadhu
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Television turns extravagant-Article

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Posted: 17 October 2008 at 7:35pm | IP Logged
 
By A. L. Chougule

Gone are the days when TV shows were shot on a shoe string budget.   Today shows with their grand sets and exotic locales cost anywhere between Rs 60 and Rs 80 lakhs. And when it comes to reality shows, where the presence of Bollywood biggies is a trend, then sky is the limit for the budget. Channels are going all out to  woo the audiences and moolah is no constraint for them.   Ramanand Sagar's grandson is   remaking Ramayan in a grander way on a huge set in Baroda. The sets of Ekta Kapoor's Kahani Hamaray Mahabharat Ki is spread over 1.5 acres at the Film City in Mumbai. Besides the huge Hastinapur set, the show also has two smaller sets each spread over half acre.  Apart from Ramayan and Mahabharat, today, every serial runs into lakh of rupees.

Besides lavish sets, channels also pay actors huge monthly pay packets. That's not all; reality shows bring in the best of Bollywood actors as anchors and members of the jury panels. Why is so much money being poured into fiction and reality shows?  "Television shows of the 90s were shot in bungalows because they were closer to reality," says producer Asit Modi who has made Saarthi for Star Plus and is currently making a daily comedy Taarak Mehta Ka Ultah Chashma. For Saarthi which ran for three and half years and had 725 episodes, Asit had erected a huge set costing around Rs 70 lakh, which he renovated twice at the cost of Rs 20 lakhs each. Such expenses were unheard of in the 90s but are pass today. For his daily comedy Asit has again built a huge set resembling a housing society and Film City.

According to television director Sanjay Upadhyay, Sony's creative head (fiction), who has shot Saaya, Aatish and supervised the making of Kumkum says, "With dailies, television moved from reality to larger than life dream. With dreams being sold to viewers, things changed completely — be it the story, sets, costumes, jewellery or the look of actors. A set can be explored in many ways for visual beauty, charm, opulence and location variety," he explains adding further, "Sets are also a necessity because dailies are shot for at least 25 days in a month compared to weeklies which require just about eight to nine days." 


Apart from Lavish sets beautiful and authentic locales are also an integral part of serials. Sony's new daily Hum Ladkiyan is set in Benaras and the unit explored the city in detail for this. Producer Sunjoy Wadhwa shot many scenes of Balika Vadhu in Rajasthan and currently the show is being shot at a grand set in Vasai spread over 9,000 square feet. "Sets are done as per the requirement of story. We needed a haveli to shoot different story tracks," says Wadhwa. Money is not an issue today. "Because of the competition, television spend has increased. When the emphasis is on upscale making, grandeur and opulence are a must," adds Wadhwa.  

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Posted: 18 October 2008 at 12:24am | IP Logged
Well this shows that even TV creatives have realised the need to deviate from the 'k'-formula....otherwise they wud shoot in those cheap-lookin' , garish sets!

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