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Love comes easy, but the joys of marriage elude them. Once madly in love, Rohan and Muskaan find themselves bickering over small issues when they get married. They feel trapped in the relationship, but an accident erases their memories and sets them free. However, they are destined to be together ' when the two meet in their new lives, they fall in love yet again. Honge Judaa Naa Hum is a love story that Sony is hoping will stand out in the crowd of programming across Hindi entertainment channels. "We Indians love romance and happy endings. This show reiterates that love is eternal," says Danish Khan, Senior VP & Marketing Head, Sony Entertainment Television.
Love is in the air as several channels now have shows that subscribe to the genre. Sony has been experimenting with love as a theme with shows such as Kuch Toh Log Kahenge and Bade Ache Lagte Hain. After the success of Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?, Star Plus recently launched the episodic Teri Meri Love Stories. Colors has on air Madhubala, the story of an arrogant superstar and a hard-as-nails chawl girl Madhu, where their chemistry has just started to build. Their Balika Vadhu is also focussing on Anandi's remarriage. Zee's Rab Se Sohna Isshq may not have received the desired response yet, but the channel is hopeful and also intends to launch Qubool Hai in the same genre.
Some members of the industry attribute the trend to a passing phase while others, such as Prashant Bhatt, Fiction Head, Colors, believe that it is the by-product of a change in the mindset and lifestyle of Indians and therefore, is here to stay. "Most Hindi programming, until now, has been focussed on social issues or family politics, with a romantic sub-plot thrown in. But the audience's exposure to international content as well as their views towards family and society are evolving. Thus, they do not mind watching a love story and Mills & Boons-like passion that these stories have scope for," he explains.
The love stories on air may be many, but these shows rarely make it to the top slot in the ratings chart, which continues to be dominated by social dramas, such as Saath Nibhana Saathiya and Balika Vadhu. Gul Khan of 4 Lions Films that makes Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon? and has conceptualised Qubool Hai, believes that the genre throws up several challenges. "Unlike shows on social issues that one can research about, the writers of a love story have to believe in their characters . Sometimes, the sequences have to come from their personal experiences," she says.
Sukesh Motwani, Head - Fiction, Zee, says, "It is tough for love sagas to rise to the top. The audience may have opened up to the idea, but when a family sits together to watch television, the elders prefer shows that address social issues," he points out. While Rab Se Sohna Isshq is a love triangle, it also talks about the shift in the value system through the story of Ranveer who chooses a career in the UK over marrying his sweetheart.
Shows in the love genre enjoy huge popularity among NRIs. A number of them are shown in countries such as Iceland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. But they often lose favour when the focus changes. For instance, Bade Ache Lagte Hain, a story about two mature people discovering love after marriage, turned into a saga of murders and conspiracies. "There's only so much one can do with a love story in a daily format. Once they run their course, one has to use sub-plots with families and friends of the lead characters in equal focus," says Motwani.
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