Posted: 03 May 2012 at 9:19pm | IP Logged
So here it is, dear fans, a few and final words about TRPs for those who worship at the alter of goddess TRP MATA, and those passionate KTLK fan like you who may wonder why KTLK is not getting the TRP it deserves. So please read it carefully because I am not going to answer it again and again.My first encounter with TRP was when I joined Zee TV as its Vice President, Programming in 1992. I was doing well in advertising(I was the most awarded writer) and was moonlighting as screenwriter in movies and had already written 'Tezab', 'Dil', 'Beta', 'Saudagar', 'Khalnayak', etc. But I wanted to romance this hot new medium called television(there is another story why, but that would be digression). Simply because I consider television more powerful than cinema because it is addictive and repetitive and can change mindsets if it is done well(as the saying goes, television is a medium, neither rare, nor well done!)My friend Alec Padamsi from advertising and Shekhar Kapur from movies advised me against it, telling me why do I want to quit two professions where I was at the top to join something which has no future? Who would watch satellite TV in a country where Doordarshan is free to air and covers 70% of the country. But I wanted to check out this new hot bird Television so I took the job offered by my friend Subhash Chandra as a challenge. I designed and defined Zee TV, India's first Hindi satellite channel(yes, I was one of the founder members of Zee TV and Indian's first Head of Programming!) and consequently made it the fastest growing channel in history(many of you may have been kids at that time). In ratings, (TRP) 9 out of 10 shows were Zee TV shows(if you remember 'Tara', 'Banegi Apni Baat', 'Campus', 'Antakshari', etc.). The only exception was Ramanand Sagar's 'Krishna' which was on Doordarshan. But I was not very sure whether TRP is the right measurement of a show's popularity. What TRP is and what it can do, for that, please check out a classic Hollywood film 'Network' made back in 80's. It is about satellite networks and their obsession with TRPs and the story of a man who got killed because of lousy TRPs. So back to the world of TRPs. How is the TRP measured? TAM sets TAM meters in a few households which are kept on when those families watch television. And whatever is their watching pattern is recorded on the TAM meters and that decides the TRP! Now how many households have been given these TAM meters? In a country of 1.2 billion, only 10,000! Yes, just 10,000!So my friend, 10,000 households decide what a country of 1.2 billion should be watching or not watching. 70% of Indian houselhods who do not have access to satellite, are out of TRP meters. That leaves 40 crores viewers. So theoretically, 10,000 viewers decided what India should be watching. But who are these 10,000 households? What is their background, what is their educational qualification, what kind of people they are, what is their sensibility and sensitivity? I have no idea. Maybe only the TAM people have. But guessing from the kind of retarded, regressive, superstitious, exploitative shows they choose to watch, one can safely conclude that they may still be living in the 14th Century! Well, folks, I do not. I live in the 21st Century and write for 21st Century! I can only sympathize with those who choose to, or, are being forced to live in the 14 Century. That's why I was reluctant to write for television for quite some time. I agreed to write KTLK because I was a huge fan of 'Dhoop Kinaray' and when Sony bought the rights, they were after me to write it. Still I refused. But them Haseena Muin, the legendary writer of 'Dhoop Kinaray' who I am a huge fan of because of the classic television she wrote in Pakistan in 80's(ask your parents, they would rememeber 'Dhoop Kinaray', 'Tanhaiyan', 'Ankahee'), asked me, and not only asked me but embarrassed me by telling that she was my fan, I could not say 'no'. The writer I was a fan of was telling me she was my fan(I will upload the video some time). And she is 78! So I could not say 'no' to Haseena ji and tried to do the best I could. The result is in front of you. I must acknowledge the full support and confidence that Sony TV has reposed in me and have been grateful for their faith in KTLK because they have kept it on in spite of low TRPs. It goes to their credit. You will be surprised who are KTLK fans. Yash Chopra, to start with, the finest love storyteller in India. And the both heads of Sony TV! KTLK is their favourite show.So the show goes on. If you check out my profile on IMDB and Google, you will know my filmography and what kind of films I have been writing. I am not interested in writing what the masses want, I write what comes from my heart, TRP or no TRP.I have no issues with people who are writing, producing, telecasting and watching retarded, regressive, superstitious, exploitative shows--this is a free country, you have the remote in your hands and you can watch crappy shows and you have the vote in your hands and you can elect criminals to power. That's your choice(and we have been suffering this choice for the 65 years in our Government and for the last couple of decades in satellite television). I do not belong to that tribe. I am a storyteller, not just an entertainer. I take my role and responsibility very seriously. A storyteller is also a healer. His job is to give hope to its audience, not feed their baser tastes. Why? Life is often unfair, unpredictable, uncertain. In life often bad guys win, the good guys suffer. The cheats succeed, the honest lose. Life doesn't make sense. It leaves us frustrated and confused what is right and what is wrong. The storyteller brings the stories to give hope in a digestible manner in the form of entertainment.Because good stories try to make sense of life, because in stories, the bad may create trouble for some time, but ultimately, they lose and the good win. Stories revive the audience's faith and trust in life, make life worth living. That's why we need stories as much as we need food, shelter, clothing and roof over our heads. That's why so much hunger for stories because they are one of our basic necessities. If some people are trying to exploit this hunger, this need, this desperation of the audience by giving them regressive, retarded, exploitative and suoperstitious shows, appealing to their gross, base and sadistic nature (may be they want it, they want to see only bitches and bas***ds)for the sake of TRPs, good for them, not for me. I am a healer, I do not believe in giving the sick what they want, but what they need. 'Dhoop KInaray' was mere 15-episode story in but we are already past 150 episodes in KTLK. I leave it you to figure out whether I have been successful or not.