Posted: 13 January 2011 at 9:41am | IP Logged
This debate sparked off on the news that Mishal Raheja will be leaving the show at end February. Today when I came to the forum about 5 minutes ago I am very happy to read that he will be staying as he has sorted out the differences between the concerning authorities. Anyway since we were campaigning for Mishal and to end the show nicely with his departure, we realised it is not only a character or an artist which matters it is also us, the viewers or the obsessed viewers if I may add that really matter for a show...you will hear many fbollywood stars saying ..'Janta Janardhan'...it is for them to decide whom they will accept whom they will not..we can only do our work. I think the same philosophy should apply here...I mean we, viewers cannot be taken for granted by the channels, they do have responbility towards us, I am sorry to say it is not only happening in this serial but in many serials. The other day I was speaking to an old friend of mine from KS forum, Sangeeta, she had started following Is Desh na ana Laado'...and was very upset that they killed the leads inspite of protests from the viewers, the story had so much potential Tin, she cried, the creatives simply could not use those....I have not watched Laado but I believe Sangeeta, she used to write some wonderful stories in KS forum, being creatively inclined she must have felt cheated and angry that they destroyed such a hugely potential story.
This idea is Priya's (Scorpio) why not fight for our rights as a viewer and take it to such a level where there will be debate in a national channel. She wrote to me, I could not agree more with her, yes I want to see a quality serial, a serial which will be talked about even when it goes off air, ...Like the way people still talk about Fauji, Nukkad, Circus, Buniyaad.. So we drafted a letter to Barkha Dutt...the lady needs no introduction. Once the letter was drafted we sent it to Kavita (Kavita DR) since she was a scribe once, asked her to draft the finaly version. This version of the letter Priya has sent to Barkha Dutt today morning....Mishal is staying but the campaign does not get over with Mishal...we will want to see a creatively statisfying show, after all we do pay for the channel...Barkha may find this matter too trivial to take up...but through this forum let us fight for our money and rights...lets demand our money's worth programme....
I have been an ardent admirer of the body of work achieved over years by you on a multitude of issues of national and international interest. The intent of this letter/mail may come across as mere triviality. But, I will tax your patience as one of the most outspoken member of the electronic media and hope that your interest in the field may persuade you to take up my request in the interest of the millions of subscribing customers who cannot seek redress in case of perceived prejudices or a deliberate attempt on the part of a channel to avoid all issues touching on transparency. More importantly, the right of the subscriber to be informed about decisions or changes that affect his/her enjoyment of programmes/shows being broadcast. What is more disturbing is the impression of a "gagging order" which means that none of the questions or appeals addressed to the responsible authorities are dealt with or answers given to the audience (in India or overseas) who at the end of the day ensure the survival of private channels.
Barkha, let me quickly put you in the picture. We have a very popular daily serial called Laagi Tujhse Lagan beamed by Colors in their 20H30 slot in India and overseas that we would like to bring to your attention. Through certain news flashes on various forums and newspapers we hear that the Male Lead, Mishal Raheja, who incidentally is the life-blood of the show will be leaving by the end of Feb'11. There has been no denial nor any attempt to rebuff these news/rumours by the said channel for nearly two weeks now. As ardent fans, we have no problems to see Mr Raheja move on and seek new pastures. But we feel that as loyal viewers who have paid a quarterly/yearly subscription to a channel or bouquet of channels to be able to watch just this one show, we are owed an answer to put an end to 2 weeks of discontent and confusion around the future of a serial that has attracted an unprecedented viewership in India and overseas.Till date no statement has been issued by the channel, the production house (Playhouse Creation, with one of its mentors being Mr Paresh Rawal) or Mishal Raheja himself.
You may be able to gauge the passion with which fans across the world watch and relish Laagi Tujhse Lagan by visiting the different internet forums, such as India Forum (IF). Blogging is a new way of life, you might argue, but rarely, would a TV show have encouraged so much discussion on the smallest of nuances that are picked up and dissected daily, or inspiring a new wave of creativity in the form of Fan Fictions, Banners, posters or interactive discussions. The whole issue started a month back when members of the Laagi tujhse lagan (LTL) forum on IFqueried the creative team about obvious poor editing of the show, We were shocked to see the laconic, almost disrespectful reply of Mr Pranjal Saxena, the Creative Supervisor of Colors for the show who stuck the boot into Mishal Raheja's side and wrote 'oh you are the obsessed fans and your favourite actor refused to re-shoot etc etc".
As a working woman I was shocked to hear such an unprofessional reply from a man holding a post which has the power by way of his creative input to affect the sensibilities of millions of viewers. Did he realise or stop to think that our 'obsession' contributed to the high TRPs of the channel he worked for?
What about the corporate responsibilty that the channel has vis-a-vis, its backers, i.e. sponsors etc but also the audience as the second main sponsors etc? Are we justified in thinking that there may be a degree of censorship or control that maybe applied to what actors of a show are allowed to say?....What about the responsibility of the Creative Team for contents being beamed on TV, and last, but not the least, what are the criteria taken in account when making decisions as to the target audience they want to reach on home turf and overseas.
I appreciate that you are extremely busy Barkha, but I would be grateful if you could put across the rights of a viewer to be taken seriously by a channel which at the end of the day is offering a product that I have the right to judge and query as I am the consumer. The main issue is not just about Mishal Raheja leaving or not, but rather, where do we figure as viewers who have the right to make our appreciation known for an artist/character and a storyline and demand that both do not suffer any attempt of deconstruction or dilution for obscure reasons. We would like to reiterate our views that were Mishal Raheja leaving for professional reasons, we would appreciate that completely in view of the superlative role of 'Dutta Bhau' in LTL. But then we, also, got to hear that Mishal has creative differences that may be affecting his work. The most ludicrous was the disciplinary issues the Production House/Channel has attributed to him. This is something that we find hard to stomach as we fail to understand why an actor working in an environment where cut throat competition prevails, would knowingly, ruin his reputation and sit at home especially after having dazzled the audience in India and abroad with stupendous acting prowess.
As a viewer, that too paying a lot for a subscription to be able to watch the show of my choice, I feel that I have to express my lack of faith for the Channel because of their irresponsibility and lack of respect for the audience. What is even more frustrating is that the channel has intimated that the contract the actors get to sign are pretty straight-laced and do not allow easy liberties. Anyway we have appealed to Colors to end the show with Mishal Raheja's departure (if the news does turn out to be true) as we think that the show at this point of time is poised at such a juncture that this story can have a logical and beautiful end thus leaving millions of viewers happy that their memories of LTL and its essence as a love story are not sullied. Instead we now get to hear that Colors and the Production House have been looking into the potential replacement of Mishal Raheja by someone else. This is not unheard of but our contention is that there has to be a stop for the irresponsible and un-planned digression from the original plots/theme of too many shows on TV which is interfering with our enjoyment of a medium for which we pay a small fortune.
In very simple language since we are paying to watch the channel, the channel too should give consideration to our thoughts and wishes.....come up with satisfactory answer about their actions and our queries. We are aware that Laagi tujhse lagan alone may not constitute a subject which would elicit too much passion on your news channel. But we would be most grateful if you would take it as the starting point for a debate on the private channels who owe part of their pulling power to the fact that they carry so many entertainment programmes. These, frankly, are not always high-quality, and often aimed at the least discriminating viewers. And what about starting to look into the viewers' free speech seriously to attract a bigger audience with a more pluralistic approach reflecting the wide range of opinions and attitudes in the community? Have not reached the point where the private TV channels have to start believing that public interest is made up of many interests and that they should start re-examining some fundamentals of the industry and open their minds and hearts to the limitless horizons of tomorrow. That is what all creativity is about, not just obnoxious arrogance or inability to understand what an audience is basically looking for in terms of entertainment.
Would you taking up the debate Barkha? If there is anybody who can take it up and send shockwaves to the television industry, we are convinced it is you and be assured that there are no vested interests on my part but rather concern for the way the paying audience is taken for granted.
I thank you for your patience and will look forward to hear from you.
Thanks Priya for the wonderful idea and Kavita for the to the point email to Barkha"...Now friends, lets fight for our right as a viewer....If Barkha takes up this matter, it will be like a icing on the cake but then if her busy schedule does not allow it, let us ensure the channel (or channels) should take us seriously. ...Your cooperation friends, love Tin
Edited by tintiny - 13 January 2011 at 9:44am