Balika Vadhu


Balika Vadhu
Balika Vadhu

Life After Death : Article

r_ahmed_shah Senior Member

Joined: 10 September 2008
Posts: 760

Posted: 20 February 2009 at 4:41am | IP Logged
Perhaps because it is shot a little away from Mumbai. Perhaps because it doesn't have tracking shots, the punchline repeated thrice and music designed to burst your eardrums.

The sets of Balika Vadhu, Colors' little big serial that has been No. 1 in the Television Audience Measurement (TAM) ratings and has hastened the end of the 1,800-episode-old grandmother of all soaps, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, couldn't be more different. Recreated at R.C. Dairy on the Ahmedabad highway, the soap, with its 11-year-old star Avika Gor, has been on TRP charts cheek by jowl with Star Plus' Bidaai, the tale of two sisters against the backdrop of Agra.

Small towns (Balika Vadhu is set in Jodhpur, where it was shot initially in May), young girls, a gentle hand. Life in the post-Kyunki phase is looking very different. It's partly a function of the competition.

As the share of entertainment channels has fallen (24.2 per cent of the total channel share in 2004 to 22.9 per cent in 2008) so has the share of other genres escalated (Hindi news went up from 3.7 per cent in 2004 to 4.4 per cent in 2008, while children's channels have risen from 2.7 per cent to 5.4 per cent).

But it's mostly a function of the success of Colors, whose "disruptive" scheduling has proved so disconcerting that Star Plus has replaced its eight-year-long primetime soap with Aap ki Kachehri with Kiran Bedi. The reasoning? If daytime soaps can run on prime time for eight years than why can't a spin-off of Court TV, another daytime staple in the US, do well?


Bidaai" src="" width=150>
Parul Chauhan (Left) and Nikita Thukral in Bidaai
No more zip zap zooms and multiple generation leaps. The Zee TV alumni which launched Saat Phere three years ago, the first daily soap to shatter the Kyunki monopoly on television, are everywhere and they have taken with them a more believable sensibility. Vivek Bahl, who was the creative head of Zee TV when Saat Phere was launched, powered Bidaai and Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat on Star Plus.

The writer of Saat Phere, Purnendu Shekhar and the producer Sunjoy Wadhwa, have created Balika Vadhu. One of the unofficial ten commandments of TV is untouched in both these shows. The girl, between 15 and 35, is not too beautiful, is home-bound, and is always in suffering-sacrificing mode. But it's the way Balika Vadhu is shot that is different. There are few visual clichs, the cutting is smooth and dialogue doesn't equal din.


Indian Idol 4 co-hosts Deepali Kishore and Meiyang Chang" src="" width=150>
Indian Idol 4 co-hosts Deepali Kishore and Meiyang Chang
Reality shows over the weekdays? Colors tried that with the 16-episode Khatron ke Khiladi and it worked, giving the infant channel a big buzz. They have also played Balika Vadhu, their star soap, at 8 p.m., a slot regarded as early prime time, but on second thoughts now emerging as the perfect down time between the cooking and the eating of dinner. Colors was also smart in taking the reality format out of the song and dance stranglehold. It worked. So while the rest of the channels try and fight the sameness of naach-gana shows, they went from Khatron ke Khiladi to Big Boss. The biggest casualty of the sameness so far has been Zee TV's Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, which despite better judges and singers, is languishing in the ratings.

Reality formats are doing well, but only in spurts. In the past two months, 22 reality shows have been aired across Hindi entertainment channels. The burnout rate is fast. Nach Baliye 4 was in the top 10 for the first two weeks of its launch, as was Indian Idol 4.Viewers are responding to all this cannibalisation with a big yawn, which brings us to another unofficial commandment that has been shattered. That viewers want to see the same story every half hour. Clearly, they don't.


There's no such thing any more as channel fealty. Viewers are flipping from a show on Colors to a programme on Star Plus. What's more, after 10.30 p.m. viewers in metros are shifting to other genres. Last month, for instance, after 10 p.m., the share of entertainment channels came down from 52 per cent to 43 per cent, while that of English entertainment channels went from 0.12 to 0.2, of English movies from 0.4 to 1 and of Hindi movies from 12 to 15 per cent. Soon, says Reliance Entertainment Chairman Amit Khanna, viewers will be loyal to parts of a programme, watching it in 10 minute capsules. So they can flip from the end of a soap to the end of an Indian Idol gala round or even a news bulletin.

Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi" src="" width=150>
Smriti Irani in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi
This may well lead to shorter soaps, with none exceeding a year. Or better still, like the West, soaps moving to franchises, like Friends and The Sopranos. These will allow shows to both revamp and revitalise. Currently, channels think more programming equals better programming. But, without content variation, it does not. So far the rise in the number of new channels has only seen a decline in ratings. According to TAM, in 2004, 1.5 per cent of the total Hindi fiction shows had TRPs of more than 10. Now there are none. Similarly, in 2004, 0.9 per cent of all such shows had ratings between 8 and 10. Again in 2008, there are none.


Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii" src="" width=100>
Sakshi Tanwar In Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii
The search for shock has begun. Everyone wants out-of-the-box ideas. Even Zee TV is moving not one, but three of its shows from prime time, Teen Bahuraniyaan, Waaris and Parivar, a mix of saas-bahu politics, crime and small town girl-comes-to-Mumbai-struggle. Experimentation is the new elixir. Call it a Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki, with a reality check. Or catch the marketing executive's desperate plea to the contestants of 9X's Kaun Jeetega Bollywood Ka Ticket, "I want blood on the floor."

The current transformation is not at par with the change wrought on Star Plus by Kaun Banega Crorepati in 2000, but it's close. But it's not entirely due to Colors. If Jai Sri Krishna is popular today, then it was built on the back of Ramayan's success on NDTV Imagine.

If Balika Vadhu is doing well, then a lot of the credit goes to the Rajasthani ethos and "relatable woes" of Saat Phere and Star Plus' Raja ki Aayegi Baraat. If small is looking sleeker, it's because 9X already tried bigger, better, brighter, most disastrously in Balaji's Kahaani Humaaray Mahabharat Ki.

Perhaps the most important thing Balika Vadhu has brought back is what Jassi did at its height for Sony TV and Saat Phere did at the beginning for Zee TV: the power of a good story, told-well, not a series of deafening gimmicks set in an airbrushed, multi-coloured, heavily made-up veneer.

Will viewers get used to a novel narrative style where a shot holds for more than 10 seconds, where the cultural context is not inevitably drawn from the pink walls of a Mumbai set, and where every episode doesn't end in a cliffhanger. And where change occurs in spades, not spoons? If Indian Idol 4 compromised between youth and experience by pairing the sweet Meiyang Chang with the jaded Hussain Kuwajerwala, next time, they may just listen to the production house, and take a risk. Just go with the new.

saher_90 IF-Addictz

Joined: 23 September 2007
Posts: 51635

Posted: 20 February 2009 at 7:06am | IP Logged
thank you so very much...
CeruleanSky IF-Rockerz

Joined: 06 August 2008
Posts: 5276

Posted: 20 February 2009 at 8:25am | IP Logged
Erm , I already posted this article . Like wayyy back . On 15 February .

r_ahmed_shah Senior Member

Joined: 10 September 2008
Posts: 760

Posted: 20 February 2009 at 12:14pm | IP Logged
sorry i didnt see the article

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